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Minerva Stomatologica 2004 October;53(10):581-90


language: English, Italian

Therapeutic objectives and surgical treatment of mandibular condyle fractures. Personal experience

Burlini D.


Aim. A review of condylar fractures treated ³non-surgically'' and ³surgically'' over the last 5 years (1996-2001) at the Maxillofacial Surgery Division of the Brescia Civil Hospital (Italy) is presented. The non surgical and surgical treatments carried out, as well as their effectiveness and therapeutic aims, are illustrated.
Methods. From June 1996 to June 2001, at the Maxillofacial Surgery Division of the Brescia Civil Hospital, 179 fractures of the mandibular condyle were treated. Of the 179 cases treated, a distinction was immediately made between ³non-surgical'' (103 cases) and ³surgical'' cases (76 cases). The 76 ³surgical'' cases were all treated with the same surgical technique. Out-patient follow-up was at days 20, 60, 90, and 1 year, together with a radiographic check-up at 60 days. Of the 76 condylar fractures treated surgically, 15 patients selected at random were re-examined; the medical history was investigated and clinical and radiological examinations performed. For each patient, the type of condylar fracture and whether this was associated with other mandibular fractures were recorded. The following data were also recorded: age of the patient; pain at the surgical site or at the mandible at the time of check-up; presence of normal occlusion and laterodeviation; any surgical sequelae at the facial nerve on the operated side; maximum mouth opening; any radiological defect; time since surgery. Then, the patient was asked to give his/her own evaluation of the surgical outcome, by expressing adequate, good or excellent result .
Results. In patients treated surgically the indication is almost absolute in the following cases: condylar fractures types II and IV of the Spiessl/Schroll classification, low or high condylar fractures with medial dislocation of the condyle; non-surgical treatment cannot be applied for reasons of patient's health; condylar fracture associated with other open fractures of the face. The use of rigid fixation also may help in the success of the technique adopted. In all the cases (surgical and non-surgical) it is important to achieve early mobilization of the mandible and carry out a rehabilitation program for masticatory function.
Conclusion. The goals of condylar treatment may therefore be summarized as follows: to achieve a good occlusion; to eliminate pain; to achieve a proper mandibular symmetry; to achieve good mandibular movement in the 3 planes of space.

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