BACKGROUND: Isolated symphyseal or parasymphyseal mandibular fractures can confer significant morbidity in children. However, this mandibular injury pattern has not been well-characterized in children. This study investigated isolated symphyseal/parasymphyseal mandibular fractures in pediatric patients. METHODS: This was a 29-year retrospective, longitudinal cohort study of pediatric patients who presented to a single institution with isolated symphyseal/parasymphyseal mandibular fractures. Patient data were abstracted from medical records and compared between patients of varying dentition stages. RESULTS: Fourteen patients met inclusion criteria during the study period, of whom 2 (14.3%) had deciduous dentition, 7 (50.0%) had mixed dentition, and 5 (35.7%) had permanent dentition. Patients with deciduous dentition were significantly more likely to receive soft diet or closed treatment with mandibulomaxillary fixation than open reduction and internal fixation when compared to patients with mixed or permanent dentition (p = 0.04). The post-treatment complication rate was 40% among all patients treated with open reduction and internal fixation, 16.7% among patients who underwent closed treatment with mandibulomaxillary fixation, and 75% amongst patients treated with soft diet (though 2 patients who received soft diet had permanent dentition and thus were inappropriately managed). The most common complication overall was malocclusion (20%). A treatment algorithm was proposed based on study data; adherence to the algorithm significantly decreased odds of complications (odds ratio: 0.03, 95% confidence interval:0.001-0.6). CONCLUSIONS: The etiology, management, and outcomes of children with isolated symphyseal or parasymphyseal mandibular fractures at our institution varied by dentition stage. The authors proposed a treatment algorithm in order to optimize outcomes of symphyseal/parasymphyseal mandibular fractures in this patient population.
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