OBJECTIVE: The objective of this retrospective analysis was to study the etiology, distribution, treatment modalities and complications of mandibular fractures of patients who attended the Maxillo-Facial and Oral Surgery (MFOS) unit at the School of Dentistry, University of Pretoria.
METHOD: The records of a representative
sample of patients who presented at the MFOS unit with mandibular fractures between January 1999 and December 2003 were captured on a data form specifically designed for this purpose. The data were then analysed using the Statistix 8 programme.
RESULTS: Of the 501 patients who were included in the survey, 67,6% were in the age group 21 to 40 years. The majority of the patients (83,2%) were male. Assault (72,5%) was the most common cause of injury followed by road traffic accidents (14,2 %) and falls (8,8%). Of the 501 cases, 41,3% were bilateral, 32,7% on the left side and 26% on the right side. With regard to the location of the fractures, the majority occurred in the body of the mandible (411%), followed by those in the area of the symphysis/parasymphysis (23,1%). In the majority of cases (51,7%) the treatment modality used was a closed reduction with intermaxillary fixation. Complications were reported in 14,6% of the 501 cases of which malunion (32%) was the most prevalent.
CONCLUSIONS: Mandibular fractures are more common in males in the age range 21 to 40 years. Interpersonal violence is the main cause of these fractures. The majority of mandibular fractures occur in the body region while malunion is the most common complication.