Resorbable Implants for Orbital Fractures: A Systematic Review

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Abstract

Background

Orbital fractures are one of the most common sequelae of facial trauma.

Objective

The objective of this study was to summarize published data for resorbable implants in orbital reconstruction, including polymer composition, degradation characteristics, osteoconductivity, and complications such as enophthalmos, diplopia, and peri-implant inflammation. A literature search of the National Library of Medicine was performed via PubMed using the keyword resorbable orbital implant. A total of 27 studies were reviewed. Strength of data was assessed according to the Oxford Centre criteria.

Results

Most commercially available implants provide adequate tensile strength for up to 6 months (with the exception of polydioxanone, which loses strength within 1 month, and poly(D,L-lactide) within 3 months). This is sufficient for the isolated orbital floor or medial wall (tensile strength, ~300 MPa) but insufficient for reconstruction of load-bearing areas (eg, the inferior orbital rim with tensile strength of ~1.2 GPa). Thicker products (>1 mm) have increased risk for delayed inflammation than thinner products. Postoperative complications including delayed inflammation (0%–9%), eyelid malposition (0%–5%), enophthalmos (5%–16%), diplopia (0%–16%), infection (0%–2%), and infraorbital nerve hypesthesia (2%–18%) are variably distributed across implants with several notable exceptions: poly(L-lactide) has an increased risk of delayed inflammation, and polydioxanone has a risk of delayed enophthalmos and hematoma.

Conclusions

Resorbable implants are suitable for isolated medial wall or floor fractures with intact bony buttresses and function as a barrier rather than a load-bearing support.

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