Persistent diplopia after fractures involving the orbit related to nerve injury

Erik Neovius, Maria Fransson, Sköld Peter Matthis, Cecilia Persson, Sophie Östlund, Filip Farnebo, T Kalle Lundgren
Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery: JPRAS 2015, 68 (2): 219-25

BACKGROUND: Fractures in the facial skeleton are common and may lead to orbital sequelae caused by the injury and/or the surgery. In this long-term follow-up, we examined the nature of sequelae after facial fractures involving the orbit and whether a higher complexity of the fractures produced more sequelae compared to simpler fracture patterns, and if so, to what extent.

METHODS: Patients surgically treated for facial fractures involving the orbit at the Karolinska University Hospital with a follow-up duration of ≥3 years were included in this retrospective study and were examined by a neuro-ophthalmologist. Based on the location and severity of the fractures, the patients were divided into four groups according to fracture complexity: 1) isolated zygomatic fracture, 2) isolated orbital floor blowout fracture, 3) zygomatic fracture combined with blowout fracture and 4) bilateral or multiple fracture patterns.

RESULTS: Out of 154 patients, 81 patients (53%) attended follow-up examinations, 65 male (80%) and 16 female (20%). The duration of follow-up was 3.0-7.6 years (mean of 4.9 years). The incidence of diplopia was 3.7%, visual loss 2.5%, dystopia 4.9% and visible enophthalmos (>2 mm) 8.6%. Severe diplopia (2.5%) was due to nerve injuries. Visual loss was encountered only in group 4 with complex fractures. Fracture complexity had an effect on the presence of any sequelae, with group 4 presenting a higher percentage of patients with sequelae than the other three groups. However, no statistically significant effect of group could be found on the individual, quantitative output values of dystopia and enophthalmos.

CONCLUSIONS: In this study, severe persistent diplopia in patients was due to nerve injuries, which emphasizes the need for preoperative ophthalmologic examinations, in all patients with fractures involving the orbit. A higher fracture complexity was found to lead to a higher percentage of patients presenting sequelae.

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