Management of atrophic mandible fractures.
Traumatic facial fractures that were once rarely encountered now present with increasing frequency in the elderly population. Included in this group of fractures are those of the atrophic edentulous mandible. As patients age and become edentulous, atrophy of the mandibular alveolar ridges and adjacent basal bone reduces bony surface area, bone density, and blood supply, making the mandible more brittle and increasing the likelihood of mandibular fracture during a traumatic event. Surgical treatment of these fractures has become more predictable and less morbid. However, because these fractures present so infrequently, many surgeons lack the relevant experience in handling them, and thus find the reduction and fixation of such injuries difficult. A number of techniques have been employed to treat this injury. This article reviews the more common modalities and presents updates on accepted surgical treatments.