Treatment considerations for comminuted mandibular fractures

Edward Ellis, Oscar Muniz, Kapil Anand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Purpose: We sought to assess the methods of treatment used and outcomes for a large sample of patients with comminuted fractures of the mandible. Patients and Methods: The records of all patients who were identified as having comminuted fractures of the mandible over a 10-year period with sufficient follow-up were collected and analyzed for demographic information, treatment rendered, and outcomes. Standard descriptive statistics and non-parametric statistics were used to analyze the data. Results: A total of 196 patients (167 males and 29 females) with 198 comminuted fractures met the inclusion criteria. The mandibular body was the most commonly affected region. Approximately half were sustained in altercations. Gunshot wounds created fractures that were more comminuted than other causes. The comminuted regions were treated by closed reduction and maxillomandibular fixation (MMF) in 35 fractures, open reduction with stable internal fixation in 146 fractures, and 17 were treated with external pin fixation. For those patients treated with open reduction, a single reconstruction bone plate was used in the majority of cases (114). For those patients treated open, 98 were treated using an intraoral approach and 52 were treated using an extraoral approach. The mean follow-up was 140.6 days. Complications occurred in 26 fractures (13%). The complications were malocclusion in 8 fractures and nonocclusal (ie, infection, nonunion, etc) in 18 fractures. There was a statistically significant relationship between the development of complications and the degree of fragmentation (P < .05). There was also a significant relationship between treatment and the development of complications (P < .05). Patients treated with external pin fixation had a 35.2% complication rate compared with a 17.1% complication rate for patients undergoing closed treatment with MMF, or patients treated with open reduction and stable internal fixation (10.3%). However, patients treated with external pin fixation had more severe injuries. Conclusions: The results of this study show that, when possible, the use of open reduction and stable internal fixation is associated with a low complication rate. However, not all comminuted fractures are amenable to this treatment, and in those, alternatives such as closed reduction with MMF or the application of external pin fixation may be necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)861-870
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


Dive into the research topics of 'Treatment considerations for comminuted mandibular fractures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this