The pattern, presentation, and volume of facial injury in the west of Ireland are subjectively different from those in the United Kingdom. We know of no prospective regional study of facial injury in Ireland to date, and nationally there is no system in place to collect data on injury. The epidemiology of facial trauma has important implications for the development of health services, the education and training of clinicians, workforce planning, prevention of injury, and promotion of health. Over 1 week we did a multicentre prospective data collection study involving all emergency departments in the west of Ireland. All patients who attended with facial injuries were included (n = 325), and those with injuries solely of the scalp and neck were excluded. The proforma recorded a patient's characteristics, details of injury and presentation, treatment and follow-up. It also included relation with sport, alcohol, assault, and animals. Eighty-two fractures were suspected, of which 46% were nasal. Accidents caused 75% of injuries and sport caused 27%. Fractures were sustained by 63% (n = 5) of those wearing helmets while playing hurling, but by only 22% of those who were not. Helmets did, however, reduce the total number of injuries. Injuries were associated with alcohol (23%), assault (14%), falls (38%), and motor vehicle crashes (11%). Because of the differences in aetiology, different avenues and methods are required to prevent injury. Staff in emergency departments will need training in this area, given the large proportion of facial trauma in the region.
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Published online: March 19, 2012
Accepted: September 15, 2011
© 2012 Published by Elsevier Inc.