Noninvasive Management of Pediatric Isolated, Condylar Fractures: Less Is More?

Joseph Lopez, Isabel V. Lake, Nima Khavanin, Bartlomiej Kachniarz, Omar Najjar, Navid Pourtaheri, Richard J. Redett, Paul N. Manson, Amir H. Dorafshar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The purpose of this study was to examine injury patterns in pediatric mandibular condylar fractures and to propose and evaluate the validity of an institutional treatment algorithm for such fractures. Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted on pediatric patients who presented to the authors' institution with isolated mandibular condylar fractures between 1990 and 2016. Patients were categorized by dentition, and information regarding demographics, injury characteristics, management, and complications was compiled. Results: Forty-three patients with 50 mandibular condylar fractures were identified. Twelve patients (27.9 percent) had deciduous dentition, 15 (34.9 percent) had mixed dentition, and 16 (37.2 percent) had permanent dentition. The most common fracture pattern in all groups was diacapitular [n = 30 (60 percent)]; however, older groups showed higher rates of condylar base fractures and bilateral fractures (p = 0.029 and p = 0.011, respectively). Thirty-one patients (72.1 percent) were treated with nonoperative management, 10 (23.2 percent) with closed treatment and mandibulomaxillary fixation, and two (4.7 percent) with open treatment and mandibulomaxillary fixation; nonoperative treatment was more common in younger patients (p = 0.008). Management for 10 patients (23.2 percent) was nonadherent to the treatment algorithm. Eight patients had complications (18.6 percent). Common complications included temporomandibular joint ankylosis (n = 2) and malocclusion (n = 2). Although complications were seen in all groups, adherence to the algorithm was associated with an 81.8 percent reduction in odds of complications (p = 0.032). Conclusions: Nonoperative management has a low complication rate in deciduous children. Children with permanent/mixed dentition may undergo closed treatment and mandibulomaxillary fixation if they have malocclusion/contralateral open bite, significant condylar dislocation, and ramus height loss greater than 2 mm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-452
Number of pages10
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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