Improved car design reduces risk of facial fractures

May 22nd, 2009 - 3:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 22 (IANS) Improved design is cutting down the risk of facial fractures in car crashes, according to a new study.
Facial trauma is the most common injury among individuals involved in vehicular collisions, the study said. Fractures to the face often occur simultaneously with other injuries, including damage to the eyes and brain.

In 2000, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the US estimated that facial injuries cost between $9,000 and $725,000 per injury in lost productivity, medical costs, emergency services and other expenses.

Brian T. McMullin of Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and colleagues analysed records from a national database of individuals (drivers and front seat occupants) with facial fractures following such crashes.

Between 1993 and 2005, 167,391 individuals involved in collisions had one or more facial fractures, 55,150 had skull base fractures (breaks in the bones of the skull) and 196,855 had nasal fractures.

However, each year during that period, the incidence of facial fractures decreased. Besides, a decline in the probability of injury was associated with newer car models.

“As older cars are scrapped and more vehicles with next-generation safety features enter the vehicle fleet, we would expect decreasing injury probabilities and ultimately overall decreased injury incidence for year-to-year trends,” the authors said.

“Occupants who were restrained with seat belts only, as well as those restrained with seat belts and air bags, were significantly less likely to have facial fractures,” they said, according to a Wisconsin release.

“Air bags alone were not associated with a reduced probability of facial fractures, and there was no difference in injury probability between sexes or based on occupant’s weight.”

This study was published in the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery.

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