Contemporary Management of Mandibular Fracture Nonunion—A Retrospective Review and Treatment Algorithm

Benjamin T. Ostrander, Howard D. Wang, Alessandro Cusano, Paul N. Manson, Arthur J. Nam, Amir H. Dorafshar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: Nonunion is an uncommon complication after mandibular fractures. The purpose of this investigation was to compare outcomes of patients with mandibular fracture nonunion who were treated with a 1- versus 2-stage approach and propose a pragmatic treatment algorithm for surgical management based on preoperative characteristics. Materials and Methods: The authors conducted a retrospective study consisting of patients who presented to 2 level 1 trauma centers for the management of mandibular fracture nonunion over a 10-year period. The primary predictor variable was 1- versus 2-stage treatment. Outcomes were examined to propose a treatment algorithm. Results: Eighteen patients were included in the study. The sample's mean age was 44.0 ± 19.3 years and most were men (88.9%). Mandibular angle and body accounted for 77.8% of cases. A single-stage approach was used in 13 patients (72.2%). Bone grafts or vascularized bone flaps were required in 13 patients (72.2%). Patients who required 2-stage treatments had intraoral soft tissue defects. Mean length of follow-up was 13.3 ± 20.4 months. All patients achieved bony union, with complications occurring in 5 patients (27.8%). The authors' 10-year experience was used to formulate a treatment algorithm based on bony defect size and soft tissue status, which can be used to inform optimal surgical management. Conclusions: Nonunion of mandibular fractures is an infrequent and complex condition requiring careful and deliberate surgical management. A single-stage approach is appropriate in most cases and does not negatively affect outcomes. Bony defect size and soft tissue status are essential parameters for determining the approach and timing of reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1479-1493
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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