Dislocation of the mandible into the middle cranial fossa. Case report.
Journal of Neurosurgery
Dislocation of the mandibular condyle into the middle cranial fossa is a rare event due to anatomical and biomechanical factors. The authors report the case of a 12-year-old girl who presented with this condition after colliding with a classmate. One day after her injury, the patient demonstrated an inability to close her mouth completely, and she had minor tenderness to palpation anterior to the tragus, without neurological deficits. Imaging studies demonstrated a fractured glenoid fossa with intrusion of the mandible into the cranial cavity. Open reduction of the mandibular condyle was performed, and the glenoid fossa was reconstructed with a split-thickness bone graft and titanium screws. Several dural tears noted at the time of surgery were repaired primarily. Mandibular condyle dislocation into the middle cranial fossa is often misdiagnosed initially because of its low incidence and nonspecific symptoms. Computed tomography scanning is the most sensitive diagnostic study for detecting this injury. Closed reduction after induction of general anesthesia has been recommended in recently suffered injuries without neurological deficits, but this approach may overlook damage to intracranial structures. Surgical repair is recommended if neurological injury is suspected. Treatment options should be tailored to the individual factors of each case.