Editorials

Trends in facial injury

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7128.325a (Published 31 January 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:325

Increasing violence more than compensates for decreasing road trauma

  1. Patrick Magennis, Specialist registrara,
  2. Jonathan Shepherd, Professor of oral and maxillofacial surgeryb,
  3. Iain Hutchison, Consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeonc,
  4. Andrew Brown, Consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeond
  1. a Walton Hospital, Liverpool L9 1AE
  2. b University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff CF4 4XY
  3. c Royal London Hospital, London E1 1BB
  4. d Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, Sussex RH19 3DZ

    Next week 200 of Britain's oral and maxillofacial surgeons will visit secondary schools to warn pupils about the risks of facial injury from drinking and fighting and, with the help of patients, to show them the consequences of such injuries. What are those risks, and how may they be prevented?

    In few places is the effectiveness of legislation on seat belts and drinking and driving more obvious than in oral and maxillofacial trauma. From 1977 to 1987 the proportion of patients with maxillofacial fractures sustained in road accidents fell by 34%,1 and rates of facial bone fracture sustained in road accidents fell from 6.2 to 4.1 per 100 000 population. Violent crime, however, more than compensated for this decrease, and, although the incidence of serious injury such as complex pan-facial fractures decreased, the overall incidence of facial injury rose from 20 to 24 per 100 000 population.1 The proportion of injuries sustained in assaults increased from 40% in 1977 …

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