Epidemiology and Predictors of Orbital Fractures in Children

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Data regarding clinical predictors of orbital fractures in children are limited. We sought to describe the epidemiology of pediatric orbital fractures and identify the signs and symptoms of orbital fractures in children.


We performed a retrospective cohort study of children younger than 22 years who underwent a facial or orbital computed tomography (CT) scan to evaluate for orbital fracture. We included patients presenting to an emergency department of a tertiary care children's hospital between January 2009 and May 2013. The presence of an orbital fracture was assessed using the final interpretation of the CT by an attending radiologist in the electronic medical record.


Among 326 children who underwent facial or orbital CT during the study period, 133 (41%) had an orbital fracture. The presence of nausea or vomiting, orbital tenderness, swelling, or ecchymosis and limitation of extraocular movement were each associated with the presence of an orbital fracture (P < 0.05 for each). Twenty-two children (6.7% of cohort and 16.5% of children with orbital fractures) underwent surgical repair for an orbital fracture. In the absence of orbital tenderness, swelling, or ecchymosis, there was 1 child with an orbital fracture who underwent operative intervention.


Fewer than half of children undergoing CT have an orbital fracture identified, and fewer than 7% have a fracture that requires operative intervention. In the absence of orbital tenderness, swelling, or ecchymosis, only 1 child had an orbital fracture requiring surgical repair.

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