Embrasure wires for intraoperative maxillomandibular fixation are rapid and effective

Mark E. Engelstad, Patricia Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose: The management of some mandible fractures requires maxillomandibular fixation (MMF) intraoperatively but not postoperatively. Intraoperative MMF with arch bars has significant disadvantages, including duration of application and risk of disease transmission. Some surgeons have sought to minimize these disadvantages, improve efficiency, and decrease cost by omitting formal MMF altogether and manually stabilizing the occlusion. Embrasure wires are a method of intraoperative MMF with significant potential advantages. The purpose of this investigation was to compare embrasure wires with Erich arch bars (Karl Leibinger Co, Mulheim, Germany) for intraoperative stabilization of mandible fractures. Patients and Methods This retrospective case review comprised 50 patients with a primary diagnosis of mandible fracture requiring open reductioninternal fixation with intraoperative MMF. Patients were categorized into 2 groups: intraoperative MMF using embrasure wires (group A) or intraoperative MMF using arch bars (group B). In each group the time required to place the MMF was recorded in whole minutes. The success or failure of the technique to maintain stable MMF throughout the procedure was assessed. Results Intraoperative MMF was used with embrasure wires in 27 of 50 patients (54%) and with arch bars in 23 of 50 (46%). The mean time required for placement of embrasure wire MMF (2.51 minutes) was significantly (P < .001) less than the mean time required for placement of arch bar MMF (25.47 minutes). The quality of MMF was judged to be stable for the duration of fixation in 24 of 27 patients (89%) in the embrasure wire MMF group and 22 of the 23 patients (96%) in the arch bar group. This difference was not significant (P = .61). Conclusion Embrasure wires can be placed in significantly less time than arch bars, and they provide a reliable form of intraoperative MMF during mandible fracture repair. For intraoperative MMF, embrasure wires offer significant advantages compared with arch bars by reducing application time. In addition, embrasure wires may reduce the risk of disease transmission by decreasing the number of wires required for MMF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-124
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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