: This study evaluated the short-term outcome of treating fractures of the mandible with bioabsorbable plates. Sixtynine fractures of the mandible in 49 patients were treated by open reduction and internal fixation using bioabsorbable plates and 2.4-mm, 2.0-mm, and 1.5-mm pretapped screws. The duration of intermaxillary fixation ranged from 0 to 23 days, with a mean of 4.6 days. Patients were evaluated for complications during the follow-up period, which ranged from 1 to 18 months. Six patients (12.2 percent) experienced complications. These included infection (four patients), premature occlusal contact (one patient), and temporomandibular disorder (one patient). Except for one case, all complications were minor and adequately managed with incision and drainage, elastic traction, physical therapy, and medication. Delayed infection (osteomyelitis) developed in a symphysis fracture and was treated by saucerization and antibiotics. The fracture line subsequently showed complete consolidation. Bioabsorbable plates can be selectively used for internal fixation in mandibular fractures, with the advantage that they do not need to be removed.
(C)2002American Society of Plastic Surgeons