Intra‑Operative Airway Management in Patients with Maxillofacial Trauma having Reduction and Immobilization of Facial Fractures

  • BB Osinaike
  • OO Gbolahan
  • AA Olusanya
Keywords: Airway management, maxillofacial trauma, reduction and immobilization


Background: Despite advancements in airway management, treatment of fractures in the maxillofacial region under general anesthesia remains a unique anesthetic challenge. We reviewed the pattern of airway management in patients with maxillofacial fractures and assessed those challenges associated with the different airway management techniques employed.
Materials and Methods: The anesthetic chart, theatre and maxillofacial operations records of patients who had reduction and immobilization of various maxillofacial fractures over a 2‑year period were reviewed. Information obtained included the patient demographics, mechanisms of injury, types of fractures and details about airway management. Statistical Package for Social Sciences, SPSS version 17.0 was utilized for all data analysis.
Results: Fifty‑one patients were recruited during the 2‑year study period. Mask ventilation was easy in 80–90% of the patients, 80% had Mallampati three or four, while 4 (7.8%) had laryngoscopy grading of 4. There was no statistically significant difference between the fracture groups in terms of the laryngoscopy grading (P = 0.153) but there was statistical significant difference in the technique of airway management (P = 0.0001). Nasal intubation following direct laryngoscopy was employed in 64.7% of the patients, fiber‑optic guided nasal intubation was utilized in only 7.8%. None of the patients had tracheostomy either before or during operative management.
Conclusion: Laryngoscopic grading and not adequacy of mouth opening predicted difficult intubation in this group of patients in the immediate preoperative period. Despite the distortions in the anatomy of the upper airway that may result from maxillofacial fractures, nasal intubation following direct laryngoscopy may be possible in many patients with maxillofacial fractures.

Keywords: Airway management, maxillofacial trauma, reduction and immobilization


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eISSN: 1117-6806
print ISSN: 1117-6806