Characterization of Craniomaxillofacial Battle Injuries Sustained by United States Service Members in the Current Conflicts of Iraq and Afghanistan

Timothy A. Lew, John A. Walker, Joseph C. Wenke, Lorne H. Blackbourne, Robert G. Hale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: To characterize and describe the craniomaxillofacial (CMF) battlefield injuries sustained by US Service Members in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Patients and Methods: The Joint Theater Trauma Registry was queried from October 19, 2001, to December 11, 2007, for CMF battlefield injuries. The CMF injuries were identified using the "International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification" codes and the data compiled for battlefield injury service members. Nonbattlefield injuries, killed in action, and return to duty cases were excluded. Results: CMF battlefield injuries were found in 2,014 of the 7,770 battlefield-injured US service members. In the 2,014 injured service members were 4,783 CMF injuries (2.4 injuries per soldier). The incidence of CMF battlefield injuries by branch of service was Army, 72%; Marines, 24%; Navy, 2%; and Air Force, 1%. The incidence of penetrating soft-tissue injuries and fractures was 58% and 27%, respectively. Of the fractures, 76% were open. The location of the facial fractures was the mandible in 36%, maxilla/zygoma in 19%, nasal in 14%, and orbit in 11%. The remaining 20% were not otherwise specified. The primary mechanism of injury involved explosive devices (84%). Conclusions: Of the injured US service members, 26% had injuries to the CMF region in the Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom conflicts during a 6-year period. Multiple penetrating soft-tissue injuries and fractures caused by explosive devices were frequently seen. Increased survivability because of body armor, advanced battlefield medicine, and the increased use of explosive devices is probably related to the elevated incidence of CMF battlefield injuries. The current use of "International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification" codes with the Joint Theater Trauma Registry failed to characterize the severity of facial wounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-7
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Volume68
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization of Craniomaxillofacial Battle Injuries Sustained by United States Service Members in the Current Conflicts of Iraq and Afghanistan'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this