Purpose: Maxillofacial injuries occur in a significant proportion of trauma patients. Trauma causes considerable economic expense due to procedural costs, the time a patient is off work, and the associated loss of income. For these reasons, it is an important health and economic issue. The aim of this study is to discuss the factors that may influence the incidence of maxillofacial fractures. As it is necessary to determine trends to help guide the development of new methods of injury prevention, preventative measures are also discussed.
Methods: An electronic search was undertaken in March 2011, including articles published between 1980 and 2011 with the terms "facial fractures" and "maxillofacial fractures" in the title. The texts of epidemiological studies were reviewed in order to identify factors that may influence the incidence of maxillofacial fractures.
Results: From the selected articles, ten factors were identified: age, gender, geographic region and cultural aspects, socioeconomic status, temporal and climatic influence, use of alcohol and drugs, compliance with road traffic legislation, domestic violence, osteoporosis, and etiology of the maxillofacial trauma.
Conclusions: Care of injured patients should include not only management of the acute phase, but also combine preventive programs and interventional programs aimed at reducing the incidence of maxillofacial fractures. Therefore, there is a need to ensure strict compliance of traffic rules and regulations, implement improvement in automotive safety devices, organize prevention programs to minimize assaults, implement school education in alcohol abuse and handling potentially hostile situations (especially for men), improve protection during sporting activities, and legislate wearing of protective headgear in workers. Preventive strategies remain the cheapest way to reduce direct and indirect costs of the sequelae of trauma. Societal attitudes and behaviors must be modified before a significant reduction in the incidence of maxillofacial fractures will be seen.