The potential drawbacks of surgical approaches to neck and base fractures of the mandibular condyle (visible scare, facial nerve injury) are still considered by many surgeons as a brake for open reduction and internal fixation. The aim of our study was to analyze the results in terms of access, scare quality and complications that could be noticed in a 12 years period of time with the use of the high sub-mandibular approach (HSMA) we first described in 2006 for the surgical treatment of neck and base fractures.
Material and method
All the files of patients operated on for condylar neck and base fractures approached by mean of a HSMA between January 2006 and December 2018 in our department and containing information concerning age, sex, type of fracture, kind of osteosynthesis material, operating time, name of the surgeon, postoperative complication linked to the approach, scare quality at 6 months follow-up at least were included. The skin incision and the dissection planes followed the original publication of Meyer et al. in 2006.
434 patients (sex ratio: 2.06, mean age: 32, 496 approaches) met the inclusion criteria. Following the AO classification, 21.2% of the fractures were classified as neck fractures and 78.8% as base fractures. 97.6% of all fractures were stabilized by mean of a 3D plate (TCP® plate, Medartis, Basel–CH), the remaining ones by mean of a combination of 1.2, 1.5 and 2.0 straight plates. Mean operating time was 40minutes per side. Patients were operated on by senior surgeons in 71.7% of the cases and by trainees under supervision for the others. Concerning the complications linked to the approach, we noticed 11 (2.2%) temporary (0 definitive) paresis of the facial nerve, 1 (0.2%) hematoma and 1 (0.2%) abscess that both needed revision. Scare was hypertrophic or considered as unaesthetic by the patient in 5 cases (1%).
The HSMA, if performed as initially described, is a safe and quick procedure compared to other cutaneous approaches. It gives access to all base fractures and to most of neck fractures. The very low rate of facial nerve complications is mainly explained by the plane by plane dissection making it very easy to avoid the facial nerve branches or to check them when encountered. The HSMA is particularly suited to the use of TCP plates as the upper holes of these plates, placed horizontally, are easy to reach from below. The HSMA is therefore still our preferred cutaneous approach to the condylar process.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Operative surgical procedures, Fracture fixation, Maxillofacial procedures, Mandibular condyle injuries