Analysis of Pediatric Maxillofacial Fractures Requiring Operative Treatment: Characteristics, Management, and Outcomes

J Craniofac Surg. 2015 Nov;26(8):2368-74. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000002087.


Maxillofacial fractures in pediatric trauma patients require significant force and frequently are associated with concomitant injuries. The anatomic and developmental differences between the adult and child that impact patterns of injury also affect management and outcomes. The aim of this study was to analyze fracture location, mechanism, concomitant injuries as well as methods of surgical treatment and outcomes, to improve management of this patient population. A retrospective review was conducted of pediatric patients with maxillofacial fractures presenting to a level-1 trauma center during an 8-year span. Only patients requiring surgical intervention, 204, were included in this study. Data pertaining to the location of injury, mechanism, associated injuries, surgical treatment, outcomes, and complications were analyzed. The most common fracture location was the mandible (36.3%), then the nasal bone (35.3%), followed by the tripod fracture (10.8%). A total of 30.7% of patients were involved in motor vehicle accidents, with the next most common mechanisms being sports (24.4%), and assault (13.7%). A total of 46% of the patients sustained concomitant injuries, with the majority involving cerebral trauma (14.7%) or the extremities (9.3%). Total 75.4% of all fractures, excluding the nose, were treated with open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF). Our complication rate was 11.2%. Pediatric craniofacial trauma remains a frequent presentation to the emergency department of trauma centers. Facial fracture patterns and mechanism of trauma observed in the pediatric population presenting to this facility are consistent with incidences reported in the literature. Knowledge of treatment options and potential complications is an important tool in the management of the pediatric trauma patient.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maxillofacial Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Maxillofacial Injuries / epidemiology
  • Maxillofacial Injuries / surgery*
  • Multiple Trauma / diagnosis
  • Multiple Trauma / epidemiology
  • Multiple Trauma / surgery*
  • Nasal Bone / injuries
  • North Carolina
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Skull Fractures / diagnosis*
  • Skull Fractures / surgery*
  • Trauma Centers