Aim. Closed treatment of atrophic mandible fractures often results in malunion, pseudoarthrosis and pain. Open reduction and rigid internal fixation (ORIF) is still indicated for displaced atrophic mandible fractures. The Authors report a treatment protocol that allows to gain the best results using reconstruction plates, autologous bone grafting and free fibula flap reconstruction when necessary.
Methods. Retrospective analysis of 15 patients with atrophic mandible fractures who underwent treatment between 2007 and 2011. 7 cases did not receive any treatment because of their general condition, while the others 8 were surgically managed by external approach. In all cases load-bearing osteosynthesis plates with locking screws were used; in 2 of them contextual bone grafts were performed; in 1 case mandible reconstruction needed harvesting a free fibula flap.
Results. In 6 out of 8 cases complete functional and morphological restoration were obtained without any major complication. In 1 case suppurative infection and necrosis of the bone graft occurred, which made necessary its removing, leaving in situ only the reconstruction plate. In another case, during the first year after surgical treatment, atrophic mandible resorption occurred from one angle to the other, resulting in loss of the anchoring reconstruction plate.
Conclusions. ORIF is the gold standard procedure for the of atrophic mandible fractures, because it guarantees best morpho-functional outcomes and predictability. Nevertheless the Authors suggest contextual bone grafting in case of substance loss, or a poor quality bone or for dental implant surgery and free fibula flap in selected cases.