Traditional methods of fixation for stabilization of mandible fractures primarily center around intermaxillary fixation with or without open reduction. During the past decade, rigid internal fixation with miniplates and screws has attained widespread acceptance in the management of acute traumatic injuries to the mandible. With continuing emphasis on cost containment in health care delivery, plastic surgeons will be expected to justify their therapeutic methods as beneficial as well as cost-effective. This is particularly important when a number of acceptable procedures are readily available. The purpose of our investigation was retrospectively to compare treatment with intermaxillary fixation alone, interosseous wire osteosynthesis, and rigid internal fixation with miniplates and screws. We analyzed the hospital records of three such treatment groups, each consisting of 25 patients. Despite initial purchase costs, increased operating time, and the need to develop the skills required to apply the hardware, our study clearly demonstrated that miniplates and screws remain a cost-effective approach to caring for fractures of the mandible. Associated advantages include a quicker return to a preinjury life-style, decreased weight loss, improved oral hygiene and wound care, and protection of the airway, thereby eliminating monitored intensive care unit admissions.
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