Maxillofacial injuries associated with all-terrain vehicles

R D Marciani, G T Caldwell, H J Levine
Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 1999, 57 (2): 119-23

PURPOSE: The purpose of this article is to report the pattern and frequency of maxillofacial injuries resulting from all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accidents, to evaluate the mechanisms of injury, to document the length of hospital stay, and to characterize other associated injuries in patients presenting to a level 1 trauma center.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: The records of patients admitted to the University of Kentucky Medical Center from July 1, 1995 through August 1996 with an ATV-related injury were reviewed. Patients were included in the study if the events of their injury, demographic data, and the specifics of their perioperative care were sufficiently documented to provide the information pertinent to the investigation. Age, sex, mechanism of injury, facial injuries, associated injuries, and length of stay were the factors considered for the study.

RESULTS: Seventy-two patients met the criteria for the study. Fifty-nine (82%) were male, and 13 (18%) were female. Forty patients required operative intervention. Twenty-five (35%) had soft tissue or bony injuries to the maxillofacial region. One mandibular and 13 midface fractures were identified. Twelve of the patients with midface injuries had multiple facial fractures. Orbital floor fractures occurred in seven patients. Two patients required unilateral enucleation of the globe. Ten soft tissue injuries were diagnosed. Extremity fractures (n = 16) and closed head injuries (n = 17) were the most commonly associated injuries. The length of hospital stay for all the subjects identified in the study averaged 4.7 days. ATV rollover and being thrown from a moving ATV were the most common mechanisms of injury.

CONCLUSIONS: Head and maxillofacial injuries, particularly midface injuries, are common findings after ATV accidents. Orbital trauma with serious globe injury was a striking feature of this study. Multiple systems injuries should always be anticipated and identified. The public should be alerted to the hazards of imprudent recreational vehicle use.

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