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Comparative analysis of fracture characteristics of the developing mandible: the Mayo Clinic experience.

OBJECTIVE: To review and compare the epidemiology and treatment of mandibular fractures in subgroups of a pediatric population.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective review of pediatric patients (age, ≤18 years) with mandibular fractures treated at our institution from January 1996 through November 2011.

RESULTS: We identified 122 patients (93 [76%] male) with 216 mandibular fractures. The prevalent mechanisms of injury were motor vehicle accidents (n=52 [43%]), sports injuries (n=24 [20%]), and assault (n=13 [11%]). The most common fracture sites were subcondylar, parasymphyseal, angle, and body. Two patients (2%) were treated conservatively by observation only, 67 (55%) underwent maxillomandibular fixation alone, 41 (34%) underwent maxillomandibular fixation with plate fixation, and 7 (5.7%) underwent plate fixation only. The average duration of maxillomandibular fixation was 26 days (range, 7-49 days). Complications occurred in 11 patients (9.0%) over a mean follow-up of 92 days (range, 21-702 days). Fifty patients (41.0%) had comorbid conditions or a history of mental illness at the time of injury, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (n=11 [9%]), mental disorders other than attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (n=23 [19%]), and asthma (n=17 [14%]). Twenty-six patients (21%) had a history of substance use, the most common being tobacco (n=18 [15%]), alcohol (n=13 [11%]), and marijuana (n=11 [9%]).

CONCLUSIONS: Treatment approach and outcomes were affected by age and fracture characteristics. In addition, a marked proportion of this cohort had preexisting mental disorders and history of substance use, which may have implications on treatment approach.

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