Simultaneous head and facial computed tomography scans for assessing facial fractures in patients with traumatic brain injury

Li Kuo Huang, Hsueh Han Wang, Hsi Feng Tu, Chih Yuan Fu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

22 Scopus citations


Introduction Patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) may have concomitant facial fractures. While most head injury patients receive head computed tomography (CT) scans for initial evaluation, the objective of our study was to investigate the value of simultaneous facial CT scans in assessing facial fractures in patients with TBI. Methods From January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015, 1649 consecutive patients presenting to our emergency department (ED) with a TBI who received CT scans using the protocol for head and facial bones were enrolled. The clinical data and CT images were reviewed via a standardized format. Results In our cohort, 200 patients (12.1%) had at least one facial fracture shown on the CT scans. Patients with facial fractures were more likely to have initial loss of consciousness (ILOC; p < 0.001), a Glasgow coma scale of 8 or less (p < 0.001), moderate or severe degrees of head injury severity scale (p < 0.001), positive physical examination findings (p < 0.001), and positive CT cranial abnormalities (p < 0.001). A total of 166 (83.0%) patients with facial fractures required further facial CT scans instead of conventional head CT scans alone. Surgical intervention was mandatory in 73 (44.0%) of the 166 patients, who more frequently exhibited fractures of the lower third of the face (p < 0.001) and orbital fractures (p = 0.019). Conclusions TBI patients with risk factors may have a higher probability of concomitant facial fractures. Fractures of the lower third of the face and orbit are easily overlooked in routine head CT scans but often require surgical intervention. Therefore, simultaneous head and facial CT scans are suggested in selected TBI patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1417-1422
Number of pages6
JournalInjury Extra
Issue number7
StatePublished - 07 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Computed tomography
  • Facial fracture
  • Traumatic brain injury


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