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The radiographic and functional outcome of bilateral mandibular condylar head fractures: a comparison between open and closed treatment.

UNLABELLED: Bilateral mandibular condylar fractures accounts for 24% to 33% of condylar fractures but the indications of open reduction of bilateral condylar fracture are still controversial. It is generally accepted that displaced subcondylar fractures are indicated for open reduction, but the proper treatment of condylar head fractures are still variable. This retrospective study compares the radiographical and functional outcomes of bilateral condylar head fractures between open and closed reduction groups.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: From February 1994 to June 2012, a total of 85 patients with bilateral condylar head fractures were retrospectively reviewed. Among this group, 41 cases underwent open reductions while the other 44 cases had closed reductions. Only adult patients with adequate follow-up and complete radiographic study were included in this study: consisting of 20 patients in the open group and 18 patients in the closed group.The subjective symptoms including temporomandibular joints (TMJ) symptoms, complications or adverse sequelae, and functional results, such as maximal mouth opening, were recorded. The outcome of patient's satisfaction was individually assessed by an independent reviewer. The computed tomographic results after treatment were evaluated between both groups.

RESULTS: The mean follow-up period was 25.5±13.3 months. The open reduction group had better postoperative chewing functions, less malocclusion rates, less degree of TMJ pain (p=0.046), better radiographic outcome (p=0.036), and an overall satisfaction rate (p=0.039).There were 4 cases of failure in the closed reduction group. Subsequent open reduction (n=2) and redo closed reduction with intermaxillary fixation (n=2) were performed. Eleven patients in the close reduction group presented persistent malocclusion through objective evaluation. The subsequent treatment included further orthognathic surgery (n=1) and orthodontic treatment (n=7). Three of the patients refused further treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Open reduction for bilateral condylar head fractures presented an overall better functional and radiographic outcome, with higher patient satisfaction if condylar fracture segments were still feasible for rigid fixation.

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