Anterior mandibular fractures: review suggests lag screws and 1 plate plus an arch bar were superior to 2 miniplates for fixation


Anterior mandibular fractures (AMFs) account for around 17% of mandibular fractures. A variety of fixation methods have been used, lag screws, internal fixation with miniplates, 2-miniplates and 3-D plates.

The aim of this review was to determine which fixation method for AMFs had the fewest complications.


Searches were conducted in PubMed, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Embase, Medline, CINAHL, and the Electronic Journal Center. This was supplemented by a manual search of several oral and maxillofacial related journals and a search for on-going trials. Randomised or quasi-randomized controlled trials (RCTs), controlled clinical trials (CCTs), or retrospective studies comparing postoperative complications between or among fixation techniques (eg, lag screws, 3D plates, standard miniplates) in the management of AMFs were considered. Risk of bias was assessed.


  • 13 studies were included (8 RCTs, 3 CCTs, 2 retrospective studies).
  • 7 studies were at low risk of bias, 3 at moderate risk and 3 at high risk.
  • 7 studies (224 patients) compared 3D to standard miniplates
  • 4 studies (1027 patients) compared lag screw to miniplates
  • 2 studies (702 studies) compared one to two miniplates
Cumulative overall complicationsOdds Ratio (95% CI)
Lag Screws Vs Miniplates 0.29(0.18 to 0.4657)*
3-D Vs Standard Miniplate 0.94(0.47 to 1.87)
One Plate Vs Two Miniplates 0.28(0.19 to 0.42)*

* Statistically significant


The authors concluded

The results of this meta-analysis revealed that the use of both lag screws and 1 plate plus an arch bar were superior to 2 miniplates in reducing the incidence of postoperative complications in the management of AMFs. Also, there were significantly shorter operating times with lag screws and 3-dimensional miniplates over 2 miniplates in the fixation of AMFs.


This group of researchers has produced a number of recent reviews looking at complications following various mandibular fractures (Dental Elf 3rd Oct- 2014). They have all used a broad search strategy and followed a similar search strategy. As in previous reviews they have chosen to include retrospective studies, which have a higher risk of bias. Interestingly despite indicating that only 8 of the 13 studies were RCTs their quality assessment of studies indicated that only two did not involve a random selection of the population. As there were 7 RCTs in would have been interesting to see what the impact of restriction the meta-analysis to these studies would have had on the results.


Surgical Management of Anterior Mandibular Fractures: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Al-Moraissi, Essam Ahmed et al. Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Dental Elf – 3rd Oct -2014 – Mandibular fractures: review finds that use of a single miniplates reduced postoperative complications

Dental Elf – 17th Sept 2014 – Mandibular fractures: review finds no difference in postoperative complications between locking and non-locking plates

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