Facial fractures with concomitant open globe injury: Mechanisms and fracture patterns associated with blindness

Elbert E. Vaca, Gerhard S. Mundinger, Joseph A. Kelamis, Amir H. Dorafshar, Michael R. Christy, Paul N. Manson, Eduardo D. Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Treatment of facial fractures in the setting of open-globe injuries poses a management dilemma because of the often disparate treatment priorities of multidisciplinary trauma teams and the lack of prognostic data regarding visual outcomes. METHODS: Patients in the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Registry sustaining facial fractures with concomitant open-globe injuries from January of 1998 to August of 2010 were identified. Odds ratios were calculated to identify demographic and clinical variables associated with blindness, and multivariate regression analysis was performed. RESULTS: A total of 99 patients were identified with 105 open-globe injuries. Seventy-nine percent of injuries were blinding, whereas 4.8 percent of globes achieved a final visual acuity greater than or equal to 20/400. Blindness was associated with penetrating injury, increasing number of facial fractures, zygomaticomaxillary complex fracture, admission Glasgow Coma Scale score less than or equal to 8, and globe injury spanning all three eye zones. Fracture repair was performed more frequently (62.5 percent) and more quickly (average time to fracture repair, 4.5 days) in cases of primary globe enucleation/evisceration when compared with complete (21.2 percent; 8 days; p = 0.35) or incomplete (42.9 percent; 11 days; p = 0.058) primary globe repair. CONCLUSIONS: Penetrating injury mechanism and zone of eye injury appear to be better indicators of visual prognosis than facial fracture patterns. Given the high rates of blindness, secondary enucleation, and delay of fracture repair in patients that were not primarily enucleated, the authors recommend that orbital fracture repair not be delayed in the hopes of eventual visual recovery in cases of high-velocity projectile trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1317-1328
Number of pages12
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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