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Br J Plast Surg. 1985 Jan;38(1):116-21.

The pattern and incidence of nasolacrimal injury in naso-orbital-ethmoid fractures: the role of delayed assessment and dacryocystorhinostomy.


A detailed review of forty-six patients with severe naso-orbital-ethmoid injury confirms that naso-lacrimal system injury is less common than originally suspected. Post-operative epiphora is more frequently due to eyelid malposition than naso-lacrimal obstruction. Eight patients (17.4%) required eventual dacryocystorhinostomy. Three out of five patients (60%), treated with closed reduction and external splint fixation, needed dacryocystorhinostomy. This treatment predisposes to external compression of the naso-lacrimal system by malpositioned bone fragments and segments. Open reduction and internal fixation of all fractures provides optimal repair and minimizes the incidence of post-operative epiphora. During fracture repair, the naso-lacrimal sac should be identified, but not probed or intubated unless obviously lacerated. The upper lacrimal pathway is protected by the medial canthal ligament. Obstruction usually occurs in the bony naso-lacrimal canal. Telecanthus invariably accompanies severe naso-orbital-ethmoid injuries and subsequent naso-lacrimal obstruction. Dacryocystography is useful in the investigation of naso-lacrimal function. When dacryocystorhinostomy is necessary, it should be performed at least 3 months after the primary repair.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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