Objective: Paediatric maxillofacial fractures are not common and carry different clinical features when compared with adults. To clarify the differences of aetiology and patterns of fractures in paediatric patients, a clinical retrospective analysis was performed. Patients: One hundred seventy-four paediatric patients younger than 16 years of age treated in the First Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Osaka University Dental Hospital during a 15-year period were analysed. Study design: Age, sex, fracture patterns, incidence, common locations of the mandibular fractures and treatment were studied according to the patients' charts and radiographs. Results: The ratio of boys to girls was 2:1 and the largest age subgroup was 15-years old. The most common cause of injury was bicycle accidents (26%), followed by falls (25%). The distribution of causes and ages revealed that the incidence of the fall-related injuries decreased in patients older than 10 years, and assaults became a common cause in patients older than 12 years. The yearly distribution showed a decrease of the group between 6 and 10 years and of bicycle-related accidents in the last 5-year period (1992-1996). Mandibular fractures were most common (56%), followed by fractures of the alveolar process (31%). Condylar fracture was common in children younger than 14 years, especially in those below 6 years. Fractures of the mandibular angle were the most common in those above 13 years. Conclusion: These results document that the aetiological characters and patterns of paediatric maxillofacial fractures gradually shifted towards those found in adolescents.
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