Purpose: Decision making in the management of condylar head fractures remains difficult due to its dependency on multiple factors like fracture type, degree of dislocation, patient`s age and dental condition. As open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) of condylar head fractures (CHFs) becomes more popular, the question of osteosynthesis removal is controversial. So far, information on volumetric changes after ORIF are available for a short-term period (<6 months) only. This study, therefore, was performed to assess bone resorption after condylar head fractures and to follow-up intermediate-term (>1 year) remodelling after removal of metallic osteosynthesis material. Furthermore clinical outcome was measured using Helkimo Index and put in relation with bone resorption.
Materials and methods: A retrospective analysis of 19 patients who underwent open reduction and internal fixation of condylar head fractures at the University Hospital of Zürich between January 2016 and April 2018 using intraoperative cone-beam computed tomography repositioning control was conducted. The bone resorption on the condylar head was measured in the course after removal of osteosynthesis material by segmenting and superimposing of the postoperative 3D radiologic follow-up exam (T2) over the initial intraoperative cone-beam computed tomography (T1) using iPlan-CMF software. Complementary Helkimo index was assessed to put resorption rate in relation to clinical outcome.
Results: A total of 19 patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The mean follow-up time was 15.6 months and the mean bone resorption on the condylar head was -0.348cm3 or -15.29% of segmented condylar head. There was no correlation of clinical outcome and bone resorption.
Conclusions: Helkimo index showed satisfying results; therefore, ORIF of condylar head fracture proves as a feasible treatment option. The mean bone resorption rate of -15.29% in the intermediate-term follow-up time (mean 15.6 months) is comparable to findings of other studies with short-term follow-up time (< 6 months). Thus, postinterventional remodeling activity and resorption seems highest in the first 4 to 6 postoperative months with little further resorption. In prevention of negative sequelae of protruding implants, timing of osteosynthesis material removal after this period of high bone remodeling activity is recommended. The resorption rate showed no correlation to clinical outcome.