Assessing the Need for Transfer to a Trauma Center for Isolated Craniofacial Injury in a Rural State

Document Type


Publication Date



Trauma & Acute Care Surgery

Journal Title

The American surgeon


Management of craniofacial injuries typically defaults to plastic, ophthalmology, and oral maxillofacial surgeons which can challenge these surgical subspecialists' capacity to care for both trauma victims and non-trauma patients. Evaluating the need to transfer patients to a higher level of trauma care for isolated craniofacial injuries warrants investigation. Our 5-year retrospective study measured the frequency of craniofacial injuries and subsequent surgical interventions in elderly trauma patients' ≥65 years old. Eighty-one percent of patients consulted with plastic surgeons and 28% with ophthalmology. Twenty percent had craniofacial surgery with the majority of surgical interventions were in soft tissue (97%), mandible (48%), and Le Fort III (29%) injuries. A patient's ISS, GCS, head and face AIS, and presents of spinal or brain injury had no statistically significant impact on injury repair. Elderly patients with isolated craniofacial trauma may be better served by pretransfer consultation with a surgical subspecialist to determine the necessity.

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