Background: Mandibular condyle fractures can be treated conservatively by intermaxillary fixation (IMF) or by open reposition and internal fixation. Although many studies have discussed for the optimal treatment method, the issue remains controversial. In this study, we aimed to compare conservative techniques in the mandibular condyle fractures.
Methods: Twenty four unilateral condyle fracture patients aged between 18 and 48 years were treated according to one of three different modalities. Bracketing, arch bar or mini screw was applied to all non-surgery patients to obtain IMF. Eight patients were treated with only IMF meanwhile eleven patients were treated with one or double-sided amplifier occlusal splint according to the status of fractured segments, in addition to IMF. Remaining five patients have undergone open reduction and fractured segments immobilized with mini plates. Pre- and post-operative images were recorded with a computerized tomography device. Clinical and radiological examinations were performed by orthodontists and surgeons at baseline and at 6 months of treatment.
Results: The condyle lengths of the patients with unilateral fracture after recovery were compared with the unaffected side. The length between the most protruding point of the condyle and the mandible was measured and the length difference was only 5.94 mm in patients who were treated by IMF. The length difference of patients who used brackets and splints was 3.36 mm (p<0.05). The length difference of patients who were repaired by plate screws was 1.80 mm (p>0.05). However, there was no statistically significant difference (p>0.05) between the groups in the IMF, occlusal splint and IMF and mini plate groups, between the trauma side and the opposite side. None of the patients developed ankylosis, open mouth, limitation of mouth opening, facial asymmetry, laterognathia, and retrognathia. The occlusion of the patients who were not known to have pre-trauma occlusions were directed, repositioned and provided an appropriate occlusion.
Conclusion: The use of IMF with an occlusal splint is a more conservative and acceptable treatment modality than open reduction in selected cases.