To compare complication rates after use of intermaxillary fixation (IMF) bone screws for anterior (ie, symphyseal/parasymphyseal) and posterior (ie, body and angle) mandible fractures.
A retrospective analysis of isolated mandible fractures treated with intraoperative IMF bone screws at 2 major level 1 trauma centers within the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Minnesota. From January 1, 2003, through January 31, 2006, we accrued 53 patients with 67 isolated mandible fractures treated with intraoperative IMF bone screws. These patients had at least 6 weeks of follow-up.
Twenty-one patients had anterior mandible fractures and 32 had posterior mandible fractures. In the anterior group, there was 1 incident of wound dehiscence, resulting in a total complication rate of 5%. In the posterior fracture group, there was 1 infection (3%), 4 malunions/malocclusions (12%), and 1 nonunion (3%), for an overall complication rate of 19%. The difference between groups for malocclusion rates (12% vs 0%) was significant (P < .001).
The IMF bone screw system has a superior speed and safety profile. It produces better occlusion results in anterior mandible fractures and might have a lower overall complication rate compared with arch bars. Given this, IMF bone screws are the preferred modality of intermaxillary fixation in properly selected mandible fractures.