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Pterygoid Plate Fractures: Not Limited to Le Fort Fractures

Garg, Ravi K. MD*; Alsheik, Nila H. MD; Afifi, Ahmed M. MD*; Gentry, Lindell R. MD, FACR

doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000001901
Original Articles

Pterygoid plate fractures are often described in the setting of Le Fort fractures. The goal of this study was to define other craniofacial fracture patterns causing injury to the pterygoid plates. A retrospective review of computed tomography (CT) scans obtained on craniofacial trauma patients over a 5-year period revealed 209 patients with pterygoid plate fractures. Pterygoid plate fractures in 78 patients (37.3%) were unrelated to Le Fort fractures. Common causes included sphenotemporal buttress fractures in 26 patients (33.3%), temporal bone fractures in 18 patients (23.1%), zygomaticomaxillary complex fractures in 17 patients (21.8%), and displaced mandible fractures in 14 patients (17.9%). These findings indicate that approximately one third of pterygoid plate fractures do not result from Le Fort pattern injuries and that the craniofacial surgeon should have a broad differential for causes of pterygoid plate fractures when reviewing trauma imaging.

*Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Section of Head and Neck Imaging, Department of Radiology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Ravi K. Garg, MD, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI. E-mail:

Received 23 July, 2014

Accepted 22 February, 2015

The authors report no conflict of interest.

© 2015 by Mutaz B. Habal, MD.