Pediatric facial trauma: a review of guidelines for assessment, evaluation, and management in the emergency department

J Craniofac Surg. 2011 Jul;22(4):1183-9. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0b013e31821c0d52.


Approximately 22 million children in the United States sustain traumatic injuries every year, the etiologies of which vary with age as well as social and environmental factors. If not managed properly, these injuries can have a significant impact on future growth and development. Evaluation of facial injuries presents a unique diagnostic challenge in this population, as differences from adult anatomy and physiology can result in vastly different injury profiles. The increased ratio of the cranial mass relative to the body leaves younger patients more vulnerable to craniofacial trauma. It is essential that the treating physician be aware of these variations to properly assess and treat this susceptible and fragile patient population and ensure optimal outcomes. This article reviews the proper emergency department assessment and treatment of facial fractures in the pediatric population as well as any associated injuries, with particular emphasis on initial patient stabilization, radiological evaluation, and therapeutic options.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Airway Management
  • Child
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Facial Bones / injuries*
  • Facial Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Facial Injuries / therapy
  • Hemorrhage / diagnosis
  • Hemorrhage / therapy
  • Humans
  • Multiple Trauma
  • Patient Care Planning
  • Skull Fractures / diagnosis*
  • Skull Fractures / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome