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Recurrent mandibular fractures: a retrospective study over 17 years on aetiology, demographics, fracture patterns, and management.

Recurrent fractures of the mandible are rare, however in Darwin, Australia, their occurrence is relatively frequent. This retrospective study identified 127 patients with 148 recurrent mandibular fractures treated at Royal Darwin Hospital between 2000 and 2017. Age, sex, ethnicity, marital status, aetiology, risk factors, anatomical location of the fractures, fracture patterns, and management of the fractures were analysed. The majority of patients were male (85.8%) (P < 0.001); 62.8% were unmarried (P < 0.001) and 72.4% were indigenous (P < 0.001). Alcohol was involved in 79.1% of cases (P < 0.001) and assault was the most common mechanism of injury (84.5%) (P < 0.001). The angle of the mandible was the most common site (P < 0.001), and recurrent fractures were more likely to occur at sites different to a previous fracture fixation site (P < 0.001). Smoking, alcohol abuse, and diabetes were strongly associated with recurrent fractures (all P < 0.001). Most patients were managed with open reduction internal fixation. In conclusion, recurrent fractures of the mandible frequently involved the angle of the mandible and occurred at different sites. Their incidence was more common among the unmarried, male, and indigenous population, and smoking, alcohol abuse, and diabetes were found to be significant risk factors.

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