Treatment of mandibular condyle fractures is controversial. Open treatment achieves anatomic reduction with occlusal stability and faster functional recovery but risks facial nerve injury and jeopardizes joint capsule circulation which can lead to bone resorption. Traditional closed treatment avoids these issues but requires prolonged fixation and risks subsequent facial asymmetry, occlusal disturbance, and ankylosis. Rather than wires, closed treatment with elastics allows for customizable management of a healing fracture with ability to alter vector and degree of traction to restore vertical height and occlusion with less discomfort and decreased risk for ankylosis. In this protocol, unilateral condylar fractures were treated with class II elastics ipsilateral to injury and class I contralaterally. Class III elastics were used contralaterally if additional traction was required and Class II elastics were placed bilaterally for bilateral fractures. Patients were sequentially advanced from fixating to guiding to supportive elastics by titrating elastic vector to any dental midline incongruency or chin deviation. Six patients were treated with this protocol with six-month follow-up. Fracture patterns included displaced and dislocated fractures as well as intracapsular and extracapsular condylar fractures. All patients at completion of the protocol had objective centric occlusion with no subjective malocclusion, chin deviation, facial asymmetry, or temporomandibular joint pain. These early data demonstrate a safe and efficacious innovative protocol for closed treatment of mandibular condylar fractures with dynamic elastic therapy.
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