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Original Investigation
June 6, 2019

Management of Mandible Fracture in 150 Children Across 7 Years in a US Tertiary Care Hospital

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
  • 2Medical Student, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2019;21(5):414-418. doi:10.1001/jamafacial.2019.0312
Key Points

Question  What are the treatment methods and associated complication rates in pediatric mandible fractures managed at a tertiary care center?

Findings  In this cohort study with 150 patients, one-fourth of pediatric mandible fractures were treated without surgery. Most operative pediatric mandible fractures were treated with maxillomandibular fixation alone and a soft diet.

Meaning  This study suggests that conservative management of pediatric mandible fractures using maxillomandibular fixation or observation with a soft diet predominates over open reduction internal fixation with plating.


Importance  Pediatric mandible fractures are the most common pediatric facial fracture requiring hospitalization, but data are lacking on management methods, outcomes, and complications.

Objective  To analyze management methods, outcomes, and complications of pediatric mandible fractures at an urban academic tertiary care center.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Single-institution cohort study conducted at 2 urban level 1 pediatric trauma centers including all patients aged 0 to 17 years diagnosed with mandible fractures between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2016. Fractures were treated by multispecialty surgical teams. Data were analyzed between January 1, 2018, and March 1, 2018.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Fracture distributions, mechanisms, treatment methods, complications, and follow-up.

Results  Of 150 patients with 310 total mandible fractures, the mean (SD) age was 12.8 (4.6) years; 108 (72.0%) were male; 107 (71.3%) were white; and 109 (72.7%) had 2 or more mandible fractures. There were 78 condylar or subcondylar fractures (60 patients), 75 ramus or angle fractures (69 patients), 69 body fractures (62 patients), 78 symphyseal or parasymphyseal fractures (76 patients), and 10 coronoid fractures (10 patients). The most common mechanisms of injury were assault and battery, motor vehicle collisions, falls or play, and sports-related mechanisms. Thirty-eight (25%) patients were treated with observation and a soft diet. Children 12 years and older were more likely to receive open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) (P = .02). Of 112 patients treated with surgery, 63 (56.2%) were treated with maxillomandibular fixation (MMF), 24 (21.4%) received ORIF, and 20 (17.9%) received both MMF and ORIF. Nonabsorbable plating was used in all but 1 of the ORIF procedures. Five of 44 (11.4%) patients receiving ORIF or ORIF and MMF had follow-up beyond 6 months, and 8 of the 44 (18.2%) had documented plating hardware removal; hardware was in place for a mean (SD) 180 (167) days. Sixty of the 150 patients (40.0%) had some form of follow-up, a mean (SD) 90 (113) days total after initial presentation. Thirteen patients experienced complications, for a total complication rate of 8.7%.

Conclusions and Relevance  Conservative management, using MMF and a soft diet, was favored for most operative pediatric mandible fractures. Open reduction internal fixation with titanium plating was less commonly used. Outcomes were favorable despite a lack of consistent follow-up.

Level of Evidence  4.