Spectrum of critical imaging findings in complex facial skeletal trauma

Blair A. Winegar, Horacio Murillo, Bundhit Tantiwongkosi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Multidetector computed tomography (CT) is the modality of choice for the evaluation of facial trauma because it helps accurately identify and characterize fractures and associated complications, thereby aiding timely clinical management and surgical planning. In particular, CT clearly depicts clinically relevant fractures in the eight osseous struts or buttresses that function as an underlying scaffold for facial structures. Information about the involvement of specific facial buttresses in a complex fracture is helpful for determining the type of fracture present and for identifying associated soft-tissue injuries that may require urgent care or surgery. Various kinds of complications can be expected to occur in Le Fort fractures, which affect the full thickness of the pterygoid plates, with resultant dissociation of part or all of the maxilla from the skull base; naso-orbitoethmoid complex fractures, which involve the medial orbital wall, nasal bone, ethmoid sinuses, and, often, the attachment site of the medial canthal tendon; zygomaticomaxillary complex fractures, which disrupt all four zygomatic sutures and may lead to enophthalmos due to increased orbital volume because of angulation of the lateral orbital wall; orbital "blowout" fractures, which may result in extraocular muscle herniation or entrapment and injuries to the globe or the infraorbital nerve; and fractures of the alveolar process, which are treated as open fractures because of their extension through the gingiva to the oral cavity and their resultant vulnerability to infection. Similarly, extension of a frontal sinus fracture through the posterior sinus wall creates a portal to the anterior cranial fossa and may lead to cerebrospinal fluid leakage, intracranial hemorrhage, or intracranial infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-19
Number of pages17
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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