Fate of rigid fixation in pediatric craniofacial surgery

W. E. Berryhill, F. L. Rimell, J. Ness, L. Marentette, S. J. Haines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The advantages of rigid fixation in adult craniofacial surgery are well documented, and implanted hardware is not routinely removed unless specifically indicated. There is a tendency, however, to remove hardware in children because of concerns with growth restriction, plate migration, and the lack of information on the fate of miniplates when used in pediatric craniofacial surgery. It has been our practice during the past decade not to remove hardware in children unless specifically indicated. Our study included a total of 121 procedures in 96 children, with an average age of 3.9 years and an average follow-up of 5 years. We placed 375 titanium plates and 1944 screws from 3 manufacturers. Complications encountered in children with titanium plates were as follows: 5 cases of delayed growth and 1 instance of restricted growth, 4 screw migrations (none intracranial), 9 palpable plates causing pain, 3 fluid accumulations over plates, 2 cases of meningitis, and 8 instances of plate and screw removal from the above complications. Twenty-two of 96 patients (23%) had a total of 27 complications from 121 procedures (22%). There were 6 cases in which pain precipitated removal of hardware, 1 case of an excessively mobile plate, and 1 case of documented growth restriction requiring removal; therefore our overall reoperation rate for plate removal was 8%, with no intracranial plate or screw migration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-273
Number of pages5
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999


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