Maxillofacial trauma in the emergency department: a review

J W Tuckett, A Lynham, G A Lee, M Perry, U Harrington
Surgeon: Journal of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of Edinburgh and Ireland 2014, 12 (2): 106-14

OBJECTIVES: In 1978 the Advanced Trauma Life Support guidelines were first implemented and are viewed by many as the gold standard of care in the emergency setting. It may not be immediately obvious where assessment and management of maxillofacial injuries fits within these trauma guidelines. This article aims to provide a concise, contemporary guide for the treatment of maxillofacial trauma in the emergency setting.

METHODS: An electronic database search was conducted in PubMed and Science Direct on articles from 1970 to the present day. The key search terms were Maxillofacial, Trauma, ATLS, Advanced Trauma Life Support, EMST, Early Management of Severe Trauma, Airway, Eye, Ophthalmic and Management. The findings were compiled into a review article. The article was then reviewed by experts in the fields of Maxillofacial Surgery and Ophthalmology to ensure content and contextual accuracy.

RESULTS: Physicians are becoming increasingly exposed to major maxillofacial injuries. Resuscitative measures can be complex and require prompt decisions especially in gaining a secure airway. A proposed treatment algorithm for maxillofacial trauma patients has been devised by the authors.

CONCLUSIONS: It is imperative that sight preserving assessment and interventions are not forgotten in the emergency management of maxillofacial trauma. We propose an algorithm for the management of maxillofacial trauma, and recommend the use of CT as a powerful adjunct to clinical examination in patients with maxillofacial trauma.

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