Fractures of the Nasal Bones: Is External Splinting Really Warranted?

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Abstract

Background:

It has been advocated that reduction of nasal bone fractures should be followed by internal packing and/or external splinting. Despite the ample literature concerning the advantages and limitations of various splint types, the necessity and effectiveness of external splinting has not been well documented.

Objective:

To present the authors’ experience and review the literature on treatment of nasal bone fractures, focusing on the indications and effectiveness of external splinting following closed reduction.

Study Design:

Retrospective analysis and literature review.

Patients and Methods:

Medical records of all patients, treated at the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery of the “KAT” General Hospital of Attica between January 2010 and December 2016 for facial trauma including nasal bone fractures, were retrospectively reviewed. Patient demographic data, fracture type, applied treatment, complications, and final outcome were registered.

Results:

A total of 77 patients (58 males; 19 females) were included in the study. The age range was 18 to 65 years (mean, 37.8). Closed reduction without external splinting was performed in 63 patients and open reduction with internal fixation in 6; 8 severely comminuted fractures were treated with closed reduction and external splinting. The mean follow-up was 4.8 months. All severely comminuted fractures presented complications.

Conclusions:

External splinting following closed reduction of nasal bone fractures should not be used routinely but only in selected patients with severe comminution. Since the pertinent literature is inconclusive on the indications and effectiveness of external splinting, randomized controlled studies are warranted to fully elucidate the issue.

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