Can an arch bar replace a second lag screw in management of anterior mandibular fractures?

Hany A. Emam, Mark R. Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy of using a single lag screw combined with an arch bar in the management of anterior mandibular fractures and to compare this method with the traditional application of 2 lag screws. Materials and Methods: We designed and implemented a randomized clinical trial and enrolled a sample of patients with anterior mandibular fractures. Twenty adult male patients were randomly divided into 2 equal groups according to the number of lag screws used for fracture fixation after securing the occlusion with intermaxillary fixation. In group A, the fractures were treated using 2 lag screws. In group B, the fractures were treated using a single lag screw and an arch bar on the teeth, spanning the fracture line. Clinical and radiographic evaluations were used to evaluate the efficacy of each fixation method immediately and at 2 and 4 months postoperatively. Results: The clinical examination showed stable fixation with no mobility or infection in all cases. One patient in group A showed a slight occlusal discrepancy that was managed with occlusal adjustment. The pretraumatic occlusal relationship of all other patients was re-established. Postoperative radiographs showed properly reduced fracture segments with gradual bone healing. No significant difference was noted (P >.05) between the 2 groups in the development of postoperative complications. Conclusions: The use of 1 lag screw in conjunction with an arch bar across the fracture line is rigid and stable enough to manage anterior mandibular fractures without the need for supplemental intermaxillary fixation. The use of a single lag screw offers several advantages compared with the traditional use of 2 lag screws. These advantages include decreased cost, use of materials, healing time, and risk of associated morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-383
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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