Infections associated with locking reconstruction plates: A retrospective review

David Kirkpatrick, Rahul Gandhi, Joseph E. Van Sickels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Purpose: In this study, we examined the incidence of infection with the use of a locking reconstruction bone plate/system. Patients and Methods: All patients, treated with a locking reconstruction bone plate/screw system for mandible fractures in the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery service over a 28-month period at a level I trauma center, were evaluated through a retrospective chart review by independent examiners. The use of a locking reconstruction plate was determined by the attending staff involved in the patient's care. Patient population included single, bilateral, and comminuted fractures. Patient characteristics were noted and include dentate versus edentulous, smoking history, and history of previous infection. Results: Fifty-six locking bone plates were placed in 42 patients. Eight (19%) of the patients were infected before treatment. A persistent infection remained in 3 of these 8 patients (37.5%). Two patients (5.8%), with 3 fracture sites (6.4%) developed postoperative infection that required further intervention. All 5 of the patients who were infected after surgery were heavy smokers. History of preoperative infection and smoking appear to be significant factors in the etiology of postoperative infection. All postoperative infections resolved successfully with local measures and with no loss of fixation. Conclusion: The use of locking reconstruction plates can facilitate the management of complicated fractures; however, it does not eliminate complications. Postoperative infections are related to numerous factors, including preoperative incidence of infection, smoking, and proper use of the plates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-466
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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