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More Faces Being Spared in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Date:5/18/2009

Researchers point to safer vehicles as reason for fewer fractures

MONDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- People injured in motor vehicle accidents these days are less likely to suffer facial fractures than they were in the past, thanks largely to better and safer automobile designs, researchers say.

Some 50 percent to 60 percent of the group studied were wearing seat belts, said the authors of a report appearing in the May/June issue of the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery.

But the "news" is not new to many plastic surgeons, who have been seeing a decline in this type of injury for years.

"The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has seen the trend nationwide," said Dr. Malcolm Z. Roth, director of plastic surgery at Maimonides Medical Center in New York City and vice president of health policy and advocacy at the society.

"It points to a trend, and the trend is good," added Dr. Richard M. Winters, vice chairman of the department of plastic surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.

"There's always been some good evidence that actual design improvements in cars, the way pillars are placed, crumple zones, result in fewer injuries," explained study co-author Dr. John S. Rhee, an associate professor in the division of facial plastic surgery and the department of otolaryngology at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

"But there's still not much data on exactly which design features are beneficial," he added. "The evidence we do have still points to seat belts as "the biggest predictor of facial factors."

According to the study, facial trauma is the most frequent injury resulting from motor vehicle collisions. And maxillofacial fractures can also include damage to the eye or intracranial damage.

The investigators looked at records of drivers and front-seat passengers who had suffered facial fractures after motor vehicle accidents occurring f
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