Outcomes of the Nonendoscopic Transoral Approach to Subcondylar Mandible Fractures

J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2022 Jan;80(1):114-120. doi: 10.1016/j.joms.2021.07.026. Epub 2021 Jul 30.


Purpose: The transoral approach (TRA) to subcondylar fractures without any endoscopic or transbuccal assistance is not a common technique. The purpose of this study was to measure and compare the quality of open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) between the TRA and the retromandibular approach (RMB), including types and frequencies of postoperative complications.

Methods: In our retrospective cohort study, we enrolled a sample of patients with displaced subcondylar mandible fractures treated by ORIF. The predictor was the approach mode: TRA or RMB. In postoperative computed tomography (CT) data sets, we measured the angles of the condylar process in relation to references: 1) midline, 2) lateral ramus border, and 3) posterior ramus border. The primary outcome variable was the reduction outcome, which was calculated as the difference between the total of all angles of the operated side and the non-affected side. Secondary outcomes were postoperative complications extracted from patients' files. Other variables were age, gender, number of plates, operation time and a modified AO trauma score. In bivariate analysis, we compared the outcome between both groups.

Results: Sixty-four patients were included in total, with TRA performed in 50%. Patients with TRA were younger (31 vs 41, P = .003), and the trauma score was lower (1.9 vs 3.3, P < .001). Reduction outcome remained comparable between both techniques (mean 3.7° for both, P = .92). Complication rates were similar, although facial nerve palsy was absent for TRA (0 vs 4, P = .039).

Conclusion: We suggest TRA for selected patients with displaced, single fragmented subcondylar fractures. Reduction outcome shows a comparable exactness to RMB, while TRA is safer for the facial nerve.

MeSH terms

  • Fracture Fixation, Internal
  • Humans
  • Mandibular Condyle* / diagnostic imaging
  • Mandibular Condyle* / surgery
  • Mandibular Fractures* / diagnostic imaging
  • Mandibular Fractures* / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome