Interest in the treatment of mandibular condyle fracture in cases of maxillofacial trauma has been a huge concern for decades because of a diversity of opinions on the topic and the relatively few studies conducted on individuals treated by physiotherapy or rehabilitation with or without intermaxillary fixation (IMF).
We measured fracture gaps between bone ends over an 8-year period from 2012 to 2019. The study cohort was composed of only conservatively treated patients. This retrospective study was conducted to identify factors that influence treatment failure by comparing a functional treatment (physiotherapy) group with an IMF group in terms of fracture gaps and other variables. In addition, an algorithm was devised to enable clinicians to determine promptly whether IMF is needed for mandibular condylar fractures.
Significant correlations were observed between several parameters and malocclusion. Multiple regression analysis resulted in the following coefficients: 0.072 for fracture gap (P = 0.006) and 0.006 for age (P < 0.05) in functional treatment group. However, in the IMF group, correlations with malocclusion were 0.063 for fracture gap (P = 0.000) and 0.003 for age (P = 0.083).
We proposed a diagnostic algorithm for isolated unilateral mandibular condyle fractures that provides guidance regarding surgical correction. If indications for surgical correction, as regards anatomical location, fracture level, fracture gap between bone ends, and patient cooperability, are not satisfied, clinicians should select IMF or functional treatment (rehabilitation). If the fracture gap is less than 6 mm and the patient is cooperative, functional rehabilitation would be more suitable than IMF.