Mandibular Condylar Fractures in Children: Morphofunctional Results After Treatment With External Fixation

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Abstract

Best treatment for paediatric patients with mandibular condylar fractures is still debated, and many approaches have been proposed. Closed treatment is the most used, but there is evidence showing long-term problems in patients with dislocated fractures. On the other hand, there are concerns on surgical treatment with open reduction internal fixation, particularly on the implanted hardware during growth. The aim of this study is to evaluate the long-term outcomes of paediatric patients treated surgically with external fixation. A total of 21 paediatric patients were treated. Diagnostic procedures included clinical and radiographic examinations. Of those 21 patients, 16 presented monocondylar fractures, 5 bicondylar fractures. They were treated surgically with open reduction and external fixation. Patients showed good recovery in maximal mouth opening, maximal lateral excursion and in vertical height of ramus, and all returned to preinjury occlusion. No patient presented permanent facial nerve palsy, and none referred pain or stiffness in the operated area. Minimal scars were visible. Just 1 patient referred clicking in the operated temporo-mandibular joint. Surgical approach using external fixation could be considered an option for treatment of mandibular condylar fractures in paediatric patient. Vertical height recovery, early mobilization, and good occlusion can be achieved, minimizing the risk of facial asymmetry.

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