Bite forces after open or closed treatment of mandibular condylar process fractures

E. Ellis, G. S. Throckmorton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study compared maximum voluntary bite forces in patients who received either open or closed treatment for fractures of the mandibular condylar process. Patients and Methods: One hundred fifty-five patients (127 male, 28 female) with unilateral fractures of the mandibular condylar process (91 treated closed and 64 treated open) were included in this study. Maximum voluntary bite forces were measured at 6 weeks, 6 months, and 1, 2, and 3 years after fracture. At each trial, unilateral maximum voluntary bite force was measured at 4 different tooth positions bilaterally using a standard transducer. Electromyography (EMG) of the masseter muscles was also recorded during the bite force measurements, and ratios of the working/balancing side EMG were calculated. Analysis of the data was performed using standard statistical methods. Results: The only significant difference between the 2 samples was in the level of fractures on the condylar process. No patients treated open had fractures of the "head" of the condylar process, whereas there were 11 in the group treated closed. No differences were observed in maximum voluntary bite forces between the 2 treatment groups at any time period, or were there correlations between bite force magnitude and location of the fracture, displacement of the fracture, or any other variable studied. Both groups showed a significant recovery of maximum bite force from the 6-week to the 6-month testing session. For both groups, working/balancing EMG ratios were significantly greater when subjects were biting on the side opposite the fracture. When biting on that side, the working/balancing EMG ratios were higher in the closed treatment group, but the difference did not reach significance. Conclusions: Maximum voluntary bite forces in patients treated for mandibular condylar process fractures do not differ significantly when treatment is open or closed. Neuromuscular adaptations to the fractured mandibular condylar process occur in both groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-395
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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