BACKGROUND: Presentation of pediatric facial fractures varies widely and many injuries are encountered infrequently by most practitioners. This study summarizes injury patterns in a large cohort of facial fractures and their subsequent surgical management. METHODS: Demographic and clinical characteristics of patients 18 years of age or younger admitted between 2009 and 2015 to trauma centers participating in the National Trauma Data Bank were examined. Craniofacial fractures and reconstructive procedures performed at index admission were selected based on ICD-9 and AIS codes. A multivariable analysis was used to determine independent determinants of surgical repair. RESULTS: Out of 60,094 pediatric patients evaluated in the US emergency departments, 48,821 patients were admitted and underwent open treatment (n = 8364; 17.1%) or closed treatment (n = 4244; 8.7%) of facial fractures. Falls were the most common mechanism of injury in infants and toddlers (<2-year-old, 44.4%, P <0.001), while motor vehicle collisions (32.9%, P <0.001) and assault (22.1%, P <0.001) were most commonly seen in adolescents (12-18-year-old). The frequency and odds of repair of facial fractures increased with advancing age, more so with open than closed treatment in adolescents (73.0%) as compared to infants and toddlers (50.3%). Children who sustained mandible fractures are the most likely to require surgical treatment at index-admission (odds ratio = 13.9, 95% confidence interval 13.1-14.8, P <0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Population-based data shows that pediatric fracture patterns and associated early repair vary significantly with age. Patient demographics and hospital characteristics are significant determinants of surgical treatment that should be related to clinical outcomes in future studies.
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