ABSTRACT: Orbital fractures are common, accounting for nearly 40% of all facial fractures. Open repair is required to restore preinjury orbital volume and relieve any extra-ocular muscle entrapment. Monitoring for postoperative intraorbital hemorrhage, and its consequent potential for visual impairment, has triggered most surgeons to observe their patients in the hospital overnight postoperatively. The real risk of postoperative hemorrhage in this patient group, however, is uncertain and the need to contain healthcare costs clear. The objective of this study was thus to determine the incidence of emergent postoperative complications in patients undergoing orbital fracture repair to determine the feasibility of performing this operation on an outpatient basis. Patients who sustained isolated orbital fractures and underwent open repair at this level-1 trauma center between January 2002 and January 2012 using International Classification of Disease-9 and Current Procedural Terminology 2012 coding were identified. Demographic data and postoperative complications were identified by reviewing the electronic medical record. Furthermore, critical analysis of available published evidence was performed. Ninety-three patients who satisfied the inclusion criteria were selected. There were no patients of an intraorbital hematoma or other immediate postoperative complications that required operative intervention. Average hospital length of stay was 0.85 days. Repair of orbital fractures on an outpatient basis appears to be safe. The theoretical risk of a complicating intraorbital hematoma seems to be between 0 and 3.2%. This can be minimized through: the use of open surgical access site and perforated floor replacement materials, careful early monitoring, education of patients, and admission of those at potentially elevated risk.
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