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  • Thesis Title: An Investigation into the Relationship between Facial Soft Tissue Injury and Facial Bone Fractures: A Western Australian Study
  • Author: Phil Cockerill School of Dentistry, University of Western Australia
  • Submitted as a requirement for: Graduate Diploma in Forensic Odontology
  • Date: November 2008

Abstract/Background: Facial injury which involves fracture of facial bones is often caused by blunt tissue trauma and is accompanied by lacerations, bruising, abrasion, and swelling of the associated soft tissues. This study will investigate whether particular soft tissue injuries are associated with particular bony fractures of the face and jaws. Thus, facial soft tissue injury patterns may predict the underlying bony injury.

Methods: A retrospective review was made of records of 100 patients who presented to Royal Perth Hospital Maxillofacial Surgery Unit, between January and June 2008 for treatment of facial and jaw bony fractures.

Results: 69% of bony injuries were mandibular fractures, with 19 of these cases reporting varied soft tissue injury. 18% of the bony injuries included multiple fractures, the predominant soft tissue injury being laceration. 14% of patients files had no record of any soft tissue injury. Swelling of the soft tissues was the most prevalent sign either with or without soft tissue injury.

Conclusion: No pattern emerged from this study whereby blunt trauma injury to facial soft tissues could be predictably related to the underlying bony fracture. Swelling was the predominant soft tissue sign. Careful assessment and documentation by clinicians is recommended in view of the fact that serious fractures can be associated with minimal soft tissue disruption.