Study of Pediatric Operative Recreational Trauma: A Retrospective Analysis of Pediatric Sports-Related Facial Fractures

Alfredo Cepeda, Logan A Konty, Joseph K Moffitt, D'Arcy Wainwright, Justin H Booth, Phuong D Nguyen, Matthew R Greives
Journal of Craniofacial Surgery 2021 March 22

BACKGROUND: In the United States, most school-aged children participate in some form of organized sports. Despite the advantages to social and physical development that organized sports may have, these activities also place a significant number of America's youth at risk for facial injuries. Pediatric facial fractures resulting from sports trauma are well documented within pediatric literature. Despite knowledge of the importance of safety equipment, there is a continued need for increased awareness about fracture patterns resulting from sports injuries to develop better strategies for their prevention.

METHODS: A retrospective review of all pediatric patients (age <18) who presented to Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital as a level 1 trauma between January 2006 and December 2015 with radiologically confirmed facial fractures was performed. Data regarding patient demographic information, mechanism of injury, facial fracture location, associated injuries, hospital course, and need for surgical intervention was collected.

RESULTS: Of the 1274 patients reviewed, 135 (10.59%) were found to have facial fractures resulting from sports trauma and were included in our cohort. The median age was 14 with 77.8% of the cohort being male. The most common fractures identified were orbital (n = 75), mandibular (n = 42), nasal (n = 27), maxilla (n = 26). Fractures were more frequently related to involvement in baseball/softball and bicycling n = 46 and n = 31 respectively. Eighty-two (60.74%) patients required admission, 6 requiring ICU level care, 70 (51.85%) were found to require surgery. There were 14 patients who were found to have a concomitant skull fracture and 6 with TBI. There were no fatalities in this cohort of patients.

CONCLUSION: Pediatric facial fractures occur in the same anatomic locations as adult facial fractures. However, their frequency, severity, and treatment vary because of important anatomical and developmental differences in these populations. Despite available knowledge on this subject and increased use of protective equipment, pediatric facial fractures continue to occur with similar distribution as historically described. While sports participation confers numerous benefits, it is vital that we continue researching pediatric facial trauma and associated fractures to develop protective equipment and protocols to mitigate the risks of these activities.

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