Background : Zygomatic comples fractures are common. In the UK maxillofacial practice removal of fracture fixation plates is currently undertaken only when attributable symptoms develop.
Aim : This study aims to investigate the factors affecting the removal of zygomatic osteosynthesis plate and attempts to assess the incidence of plate removal over a 5-year period.
Method : The patients who underwent osteosynthesis plate removal from the zygomatic area between 2008 and 2012 were identified using the hospital operating theatre database. The patient’s demographics, mode of injury, initial operation details, smoking status and the reasons for plate removal were recorded and analysed.
Results : During the 5-year period a total of 239 operations were carried out for the fixation of zygomatic fractures. Only 7 patients with age ranging from 22 to 51 years old (mean age 34.7) had their plates removed. All these patients were male. Plate removal occurred between 3 and 72 months after fracture fixation. The most common reason for plate removal was pain 42.8% (3), infection 14.3% (1), and loose screws 14.3% (1). 2.8% of zygomatic complex plates were removed over the five-year period.
Conclusion : These results show a very low plate removal rate and support our current practice of inserting zygomatic buttress fixation plates and not removing them routinely.
Key words : zygomatic complex fracture; plate removal