Approximately 22 million children are injured in the United States annually. Children are uniquely susceptible to craniofacial trauma because of their greater cranial-mass-to-body ratio. The pediatric population sustains 1% to 14.7% of all facial fractures. The majority of these injuries are encountered by boys (53.7% - 80%) who are involved in motor vehicle accidents (up to 80.2%). The incidence of other systemic injury concomitant to facial trauma is significant (10.4% - 88%). The management of the pediatric patient with maxillofacial injury should take into consideration the differences in anatomy and physiology between children and adults, the presence of concomitant injury, the particular stage in growth and development (anatomic, physiologic, and psychologic), and the specific injuries and anatomic sites that the injuries affect. This comprehensive review, based on the last 25 years of the world's English-speaking surgical literature, presents current thoughts on the anatomic and physiologic differences between adults and children, a synopsis of childhood growth and development, and an overview of state-of-the-art management of the pediatric patient who has sustained maxillofacial injury.
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