JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Paediatric mandibular fracture-a diagnostic challenge?

The purpose of this study was to clarify the frequency of missed mandibular fractures and to identify possible predictive factors for missed diagnosis. This was a retrospective study that included patients <20 years of age with a recent mandibular fracture. The outcome variable was missed mandibular fracture, which was determined when a fracture was not suspected or diagnosed during the patient's first assessment in primary healthcare. The primary predictor variable was age group (i.e. children <13 years or teenagers/adolescents aged 13-19 years). The explanatory variables were sex, mechanism of injury, and type of facial facture. Other variables were clinical symptoms and findings. Mandibular fracture was missed at first contact in 27 of 182 patients (14.8%). Fracture was missed significantly more often in patients <13 years than in older patients (33.3% vs. 8.8%, P<0.001). The only significant symptom or clinical finding that was associated with missed fractures was skin wound of the jaw (P=0.009). There was no association between missed fracture and sex or mechanism of injury. Mandibular fractures in children are often missed at the first healthcare contact. Careful examination is necessary in paediatric mandibular injuries, particularly in the youngest age groups. Consultation should be smooth between paediatric trauma units and maxillofacial surgeons.

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