Mandibular fractures – what a difference 30 years has made


      This single-centre retrospective study aimed to characterise the epidemiology, management, and outcomes of mandibular trauma presenting to the same tertiary trauma centre 30 years apart, including key paradigm shifts in management and techniques. A total of 393 patients presenting with 665 mandibular fractures were managed by the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery department at The Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH), Australia, between 2011 and 2016. Data from a previous RMH paper of 205 patients presenting with 376 mandibular fractures between January 1985 and April 1990 were compared. Results showed an increase in presentations (205 to 393 patients) with an increase in the incidence of mandibular trauma (p = 0.0001), females (12% to 14%), and mean age (29 to 31.1) years. Young males remained the dominant cohort (86%) and interpersonal violence (IPV) the most common aetiology (46% to 43%). Mandibular fractures remained commonly associated with other systemic injuries (49% to 42%), occurring most frequently on the left (49%), and at the angle (29.8%), with most occurring at two sites (53%). Significant paradigm shifts in the management of mandibular trauma saw a reduced need for intermaxillary fixation (76% to 30%, p = 0.0001), increased use of extraoral approaches to the fracture, and the use of semi-rigid internal fixation along ideal lines of osteosynthesis (29% to 87%, p = 0.0001). This demonstrated decreased complications including malocclusion, non-union and delayed union, and permanent nerve injury. There was no significant change in infection, dehiscence rates, and temporary nerve damage.


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