Underdiagnosis of Nasoorbitoethmoid Fractures in Patients with Zygoma Injury

Nicholas J. Nissen, Zachary I. Okhah, Marten N. Basta, Sun Hsieh, Joseph W. Crozier, Charles C. Jehle, Vinay Rao, Albert S. Woo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Nasoorbitoethmoid fractures commonly accompany midface fractures and may be underdiagnosed, resulting in incomplete reconstruction or inadequate treatment following facial trauma. To better understand the nasoorbitoethmoid fracture diagnosis and treatment tendencies, the authors analyzed concomitant nasoorbitoethmoid injuries in the setting of zygoma fractures. Methods: The facial trauma database at a level I trauma center was evaluated. All patients with diagnosed zygoma fractures from June of 2011 to March of 2016 were assessed for a concomitant nasoorbitoethmoid injury. Documentation of these fractures in radiology, plastic surgery, and operative notes was recorded, as was the rate of nasoorbitoethmoid fracture surgical repair. Results: The authors identified 339 eligible patients and completed retrospective analysis of computed tomographic images for their 356 zygoma fractures. The incidence of concomitant nasoorbitoethmoid fractures was 30.6 percent (109 of 356). Documentation rates of nasoorbitoethmoid fractures were 0 percent, 3.7 percent, and 8.3 percent in radiology, plastic surgery, and operative notes, respectively. The rate of surgical correction of nasoorbitoethmoid injuries was 22.9 percent (25 of 109). Of those fractures identified, 44.9 percent (49 of 109) were minimally displaced or nondisplaced. Subset analysis of only significantly displaced fractures yielded an incidence of 16.8 percent (60 of 356). Of significantly displaced fractures, documentation rates were 0 percent, 6.7 percent, and 16.8 percent in radiology, plastic surgery, and operative notes, respectively. The surgical repair rate of significantly displaced fractures was 31.7 percent (19 of 60). Conclusions: These findings suggest a high concomitance rate of nasoorbitoethmoid fractures with zygoma fractures and identify a tendency to underdocument and undertreat this injury pattern. Clinicians managing patients with midface trauma should have a high suspicion for nasoorbitoethmoid trauma. Plastic surgeons and radiologists should be better trained in identifying the nasoorbitoethmoid fracture pattern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1001-1008
Number of pages8
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

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