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J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2013 Sep;71(9):1556-62. doi: 10.1016/j.joms.2013.04.007. Epub 2013 Jul 15.

Le Fort II fractures are associated with death: a comparison of simple and complex midface fractures.

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  • 1Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.



To investigate whether complex midface fractures have a greater association with death and intracranial injury than simple midface fractures.


A retrospective chart review was performed for patients with blunt-mechanism midface fractures who had presented to an urban trauma center from 1998 to 2010. The survival and intracranial injury status was evaluated for patients with simple and complex midface fractures, including Le Fort, naso-orbitoethmoid, and/or zygomaticomaxillary fractures. Intracranial injury included hemorrhage and brainstem injury. Patients with upper face fractures were excluded to minimize confounding. Adjusted relative risk estimates were obtained using multivariate regression analysis.


Of 3,291 patients with midface fractures, 213 (6.3%) died and 693 (21.3%) had an intracranial injury. The cumulative mortality reached 11.6% in patients with complex midface fractures and 5.1% in those with simple midface fractures (P < .001). Patients with complex midface fractures were 57% more likely to die (relative risk = 1.57; P < .005). Specifically, Le Fort II fractures independently conferred a 94% increased risk of death (relative risk = 1.94; P < .01), but Le Fort I and III fractures were not significantly associated with death. Among patients presenting without neurologic impairment, those with Le Fort II and III fractures remained 2.88-fold (P < .01) and 2.54-fold (P < .001) more likely to have an underlying intracranial injury, respectively.


Le Fort II fractures are associated with increased mortality. Furthermore, Le Fort II and III fractures are associated with serious intracranial injury, even in the absence of alterations in consciousness. These patients should be monitored with heightened vigilance and followed up closely during hospitalization, regardless of the presenting clinical findings.

Copyright © 2013 American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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