Background: Fractures of the mandible are common facial injuries. Patients frequently require hospitalisation, surgical intervention and extended periods of convalescence.
Methods: A prospective database of patients presenting to the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery service at Christchurch Hospital during an 11-year period was reviewed. 1045 patients with mandibular fractures were identified. Variables examined included demographic data, type of fractures, mode of injury and treatment delivered.
Results: More than 90% of patients were men, with 64% in the 15–29 years age group. Interpersonal violence accounted for 49% of fractures, followed by sports (16%), falls (13%) and motor vehicle accidents (10%). The condyle was the most frequent fracture site (34%) and multiple fractures were seen in 37% of patients. Hospitalisation was required for 53% of patients with 89% of these treatments being open reduction and internal fixation.
Conclusion: Mandibular fracture is a common facial injury. The incidence is highest in young men who are victims of interpersonal violence. Alcohol is a major contributing factor. Management involved hospitalisation and surgical intervention for more than half of those presenting.
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Competing interests: None.