Management of Nonunion and Malunion After Primary Mandibular Condylar Fracture Treatment: A Review and Recommendations

J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2020 Jun 13;S0278-2391(20)30570-X. doi: 10.1016/j.joms.2020.05.043. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: After primary treatment of mandibular condylar fractures, nonunion and malunion can result in considerable malocclusion and temporomandibular joint dysfunction owing to the integral role the condylar head plays in the temporomandibular joint. At present, the choice and timing of treatment are highly heterogeneous. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the current literature to identify possible pitfalls, discuss available treatment options, and make recommendations.

Methods: The electronic databases PubMed, MEDLINE, PROSPERO, CENTRAL (Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials), and Embase were searched for content matching mandibular condylar fracture "revision surgery," "secondary surgery," "refracture," "malunion," and "malunion osteotomy." Articles in English, limited to human adults, published in the past 10 years, with abstracts and full text available and appropriate study designs, were included.

Results: A total of 101 articles were retrieved for analysis, and 4 articles were included. Because of heterogeneity in these studies, a pooled analysis could not be performed.

Conclusions: Surgery can be considered as primary treatment of condylar fractures, and early detection of complications allows for early intervention, leading to better outcomes. Treatment of temporomandibular joint dysfunction is highly heterogeneous and ranges from nonsurgical measures to joint reconstruction. Unilateral malocclusion can often be corrected with unilateral surgery, but bilateral surgery may be indicated in select cases. Bilateral deformities often require bilateral mandibular surgery, but in cases with preserved symmetry, maxillary surgery can be performed.

Publication types

  • Review