Management of sport-related maxillofacial injuries

Fabio Roccia, Alberto Diaspro, Andrea Nasi, Sid Berrone
Journal of Craniofacial Surgery 2008, 19 (2): 377-82
By analyzing sports-related maxillofacial fractures, we sought to describe preventive measures and recovery times until sporting activities could be resumed. Between January 2001 and December 2006, 1241 patients were hospitalized as a result of maxillofacial fractures. The patients with sports-related maxillofacial fractures were analyzed based on age, sex, type of sport, injury mechanism, trauma site, presence of associated fractures, hospitalization, treatment method, and recovery time until the resumption of sporting activities. One hundred thirty-eight patients (11.4%) sustained sports-related maxillofacial fractures: 121 males and 17 females (ratio 8:1), aged between 11 and 72 years. The sport producing the greatest number of injuries was soccer (62.3%), followed by skiing (14.5%), and horseback riding (6.5%). The injuries involved mainly the middle third of the face (71.6%), and the mandible was the most affected site (27.2%), followed by the maxillary-zygomatic-orbital complex (25.9%). Treatment was surgery in 93.5% of the patients, with an average hospitalization period of 3.5 days. The protocol created to manage the follow-up of maxillofacial injury patients advised resuming sports activities at least 40 days after the trauma, except in the case of combat sports, when a period of 3 months was required. Although the results of this study indicate a reduction in the total incidence of sports-related maxillofacial injuries, they also show an alarming secondary increase in trauma resulting from the most popular sport in Italy-soccer. Therefore, stricter regulations are needed to discourage violent play, rather than relying on the use of protective equipment. Moreover, patients should be advised when they can resume sports activities, particularly in the case of professionals and semiprofessionals.

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