The functional outcome of blow-out fractures managed surgically and conservatively: our experience in 100 patients

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2016 Jul;273(7):1927-31. doi: 10.1007/s00405-016-3945-1. Epub 2016 Mar 2.


The proportion of orbital blow-out fractures (BOFs) which are operated upon varies. The purpose of this study was to determine the treatment pattern of BOFs at our tertiary trauma centre and to evaluate the functional outcomes in patients according to whether they were managed surgically or conservatively. The study design is a retrospective cohort study and the setting is Tertiary care University Hospital. The participants include patients with isolated BOFs admitted to our Trauma Unit from 2010 to 2013. Of the 100 consecutive patients included, 60 had available follow-up data. The presence of diplopia and enophthalmus was determined by reviewing the medical records. Data from the patients' initial consultation and their 3-month follow-up were also collected. Of the 60 patients whose data could be analysed, 36 had been managed surgically and 24 conservatively. Of the patients managed surgically, 25 had diplopia in peripheral gaze before surgery and 12 at 3-month follow-up. Nine had diplopia in primary gaze before surgery and none at 3-month follow-up. Five had enophthalmus before surgery and two at 3-month follow-up. Of the patients managed conservatively, eight had diplopia in peripheral gaze initially and seven at 3-month follow-up. Three had diplopia in primary gaze initially and one at 3-month follow-up. One had enophthalmus initially which was still present at 3-month follow-up. Primary gaze diplopia disappeared while secondary gaze diplopia was present in about a third of patients, whether managed surgically or conservatively at the 3-month follow-up. Standardised follow-up as well as clear indications for and against surgery are warranted.

Keywords: Blow-out fracture; Diplopia; Enophthalmus; Orbital fracture; Sequelae.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Diplopia / diagnosis
  • Diplopia / etiology*
  • Diplopia / physiopathology
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmologic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Orbital Fractures / complications
  • Orbital Fractures / diagnosis
  • Orbital Fractures / surgery*
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Visual Acuity / physiology*
  • Young Adult