After the nasal bones, the mandible is the second most common site of facial fractures, and mandibular fractures frequently require open reduction. In the trauma injury setting, multidetector computed tomography (CT) has become the cornerstone imaging modality for determining the most appropriate treatment management, fixation method, and surgical approach. Multidetector CT is also used to assess the adequacy of the reduction and evaluate potential complications in the postoperative period. For successful restoration of the mandible’s form and function, as well as management of posttraumatic and postoperative complications, reconstructive surgeons are required to have a detailed understanding of mandibular biomechanics, occlusion, and anatomy. To provide added value in the diagnosis, treatment planning, and follow-up of mandibular fractures, radiologists should be aware of these concepts. Knowledge of the techniques commonly used to achieve occlusal and anatomic reduction and of the rationale behind the range of available treatment options for different injury patterns—from isolated and nondisplaced fractures to multisite and comminuted fractures—also is essential. This article focuses on the use of multidetector CT for pre- and postoperative evaluation of mandibular fractures and outlines fundamental concepts of diagnosis and management—beginning with an explanation of common fracture patterns and their biomechanical underpinnings, and followed by a review of the common postoperative appearances of these fractures after semirigid and rigid fixation procedures. Specific considerations regarding fractures in different regions of the tooth-bearing and non–tooth-bearing mandible and the unique issues pertaining to the edentulous atrophic mandible are reviewed, and key features that distinguish major from minor complications are described.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging