June 15, 2017

Dr. Svider's study on facial fractures from recreational activity in older adults published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery

Aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening activities are encouraged for older adults, but those activities carry implications for injury patterns and prevention.

Peter Svider, M.D., a fourth-year resident in the Wayne State University School of Medicine Department of Otolaryngology, and coauthors focused on adults 55 and older to estimate a national incidence of facial fractures that resulted from participating in recreational activities. They used the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System to collect data on emergency department visits from 2011 through 2015 for patients in that age group who sustained facial fractures during recreational activities, according to a new study published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

During the study period, there were 20,519 emergency room visits for facial fractures associated with recreational activity among adults 55 and older. The annual incidence of facial fractures increased by 45.3 percent from 2011 through 2015, according to the study.

The most common causes of facial fractures were bicycling, team sports like baseball and softball, outdoor activities like hiking and camping, and gardening. Walking and jogging were the cause of 5.5 percent of injuries.

Many facial fractures were to the nose, followed by orbital fractures, the study indicates.

Men and women injured themselves differently. A greater proportion of men (35.7 percent) than women (14.9 percent) sustained facial fractures while bicycling. A greater proportion of women than men (15.5 percent versus 6.1 percent) sustained facial fractures while gardening.

Study limitations include that the database does not include patients who may have sought care in places other than emergency rooms.

"Although injuries associated with more energetic and vigorous activities were more common overall, physicians should be aware that even activities characterized as having low risk such as gardening and walking still carry potential for trauma and facial fractures in this older patient population," the article concludes.

Read the full study here.

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