Nonfatal sport-related craniofacial fractures: characteristics, mechanisms, and demographic data in the pediatric population

Zoe M MacIsaac, Hebist Berhane, James Cray, Noel S Zuckerbraun, Joseph E Losee, Lorelei J Grunwaldt
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 2013, 131 (6): 1339-1347

BACKGROUND: Few reports exist on sport-related craniofacial fracture injuries in the pediatric population. Most patients with craniofacial injuries are adults, and most studies on pediatric sport injuries do not focus specifically on craniofacial fractures. The authors' goal was to provide a retrospective, descriptive review of the common mechanisms of sport-related craniofacial injuries in the pediatric population, identifying the characteristics of these injuries and providing a description of the demographics of this population.

METHODS: The study population included children between the ages of 0 and 18 years who were seen in the emergency department at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center between 2000 and 2005. Of the 1508 patients identified, 167 had injuries caused by sport-related trauma (10.6 percent).

RESULTS: After evaluation in the emergency department, 45.5 percent were hospitalized, and 15.0 percent of these were admitted to the intensive care unit. The peak incidence of sport-related injuries occurred between the ages of 13 and 15 years (40.7 percent). Nasal (35.9 percent), orbital (33.5 percent), and skull fractures (30.5 percent) were most common, whereas fractures of the maxilla (12.6 percent), mandible (7.2 percent), zygomaticomaxillary complex (4.2 percent), and naso-orbitoethmoid complex (1.2 percent) were observed less frequently. Baseball and softball were most frequently associated with the craniofacial injuries (44.3 percent), whereas basketball (7.2 percent) and football (3.0 percent) were associated with fewer injuries. The most common mechanisms of injury were throwing, catching, or hitting a ball (34.1 percent) and collision with other players (24.5 percent).

CONCLUSION: These data may allow targeted or sport-specific craniofacial fracture injury prevention strategies.

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