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Internal orbital fractures in the pediatric age group: characterization and management

Z C Bansagi, D R Meyer
Ophthalmology 2000, 107 (5): 829-36

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the specific characteristics and management of internal orbital fractures in the pediatric population.

DESIGN: Retrospective observational case series.

PARTICIPANTS: Thirty-four pediatric patients between the ages of 1 and 18 years with internal orbital ("blowout") fractures.

METHODS: Records of pediatric patients presenting with internal orbital fractures over a 5-year period were reviewed, including detailed preoperative and postoperative evaluations, surgical management, and medical management.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Ocular motility restriction, enophthalmos, nausea and vomiting, and postoperative complications.

RESULTS: Floor fractures were by far the most common fracture type (71%). Eleven of 34 patients required surgical intervention for ocular motility restriction. Eight were trapdoor-type fractures with soft-tissue incarceration; five had nausea and vomiting. Early surgical intervention (<2 weeks) resulted in a more complete return of ocular motility compared with the late intervention group.

CONCLUSIONS: Trapdoor-type fractures, usually involving the orbital floor, are common in the pediatric age group. These fractures may be small with minimal soft-tissue incarceration, making the findings on computed tomography scans quite subtle at times. Marked motility restriction and nausea/vomiting should alert the physician to the possibility of a trapdoor-type fracture and the need for prompt surgical intervention.

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