Airbags, Seat Belts Cut Likelihood of Facial Fractures

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Airbags, Seat Belts Cut Likelihood of Facial Fractures
Airbags, Seat Belts Cut Likelihood of Facial Fractures

FRIDAY, July 22, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- The use of airbags, seat belts, and both devices is associated with a reduced likelihood of facial fractures after motor vehicle collisions, according to a study published online July 21 in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

David A. Hyman, M.D., from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, and colleagues examined the incidence of facial fractures and the influence of protective device use during motor vehicle collisions in patients treated at U.S. trauma centers. Data were included for 518,106 patients, of whom 10.9 percent experienced at least one facial fracture.

The researchers found that the most common facial fracture was nasal fracture (5.6 percent). Among patients with at least one facial fracture, 5.8, 26.9, and 9.3 percent had airbag protection only, used a seat belt device only, and used both protective devices, respectively, while 57.6 percent used no protective device. The odds of facial fracture were reduced with use of an airbag alone (odds ratio, 0.82), use of a seat belt alone (odds ratio, 0.57), and use of both devices (odds ratio, 0.47). The likelihood of facial fracture was increased with younger age, male sex, and alcohol use.

"For patients who presented to U.S. trauma centers after motor vehicle collisions between 2007 and 2012, airbags, seat belts, and the combination of the two devices incrementally reduced the likelihood of facial fractures," the authors write.

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