Although maxillofacial injuries account for a large number of hospital admissions, there appear to be only a few reports detailing the etiology and pattern of facial injuries in women. To delineate this problem, we performed a retrospective chart review of all women admitted to University of California, Davis Medical Center with traumatic facial injuries from July 1, 1990, to June 30, 1992. Motor vehicle accidents were the primary etiology, followed by assaults. The mandible was the most commonly injured facial bone. In a closer evaluation of female patients injured by assault, we found inadequate documentation describing the circumstances surrounding their facial injuries. This indicates that domestic violence and other forms of assaults against women may be severely underreported and has important implications for health care professionals who must always suspect physical abuse in any woman who presents with maxillofacial injuries without an obvious, known etiology.
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