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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 724032, 9 pages
Review Article

Airway Management of the Patient with Maxillofacial Trauma: Review of the Literature and Suggested Clinical Approach

1Department of Anesthesiology, Rambam Health Care Campus, and the Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, 31069 Haifa, Israel
2Trauma Center & Emergency Surgery, Department of General Surgery, Rambam Health Care Campus, 31096 Haifa, Israel
3Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Rambam Health Care Campus, 31096 Haifa, Israel
4Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Baruch Padeh Medical Center, Affiliated to the Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University, Poriya, 15208 Tiberias, Israel

Received 14 December 2014; Accepted 10 February 2015

Academic Editor: Kamil Toker

Copyright © 2015 Michal Barak et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


According to the Advanced Trauma Life Support recommendations for managing patients with life-threatening injuries, securing the airway is the first task of a primary caregiver. Airway management of patients with maxillofacial trauma is complex and crucial because it can dictate a patient’s survival. Securing the airway of patients with maxillofacial trauma is often extremely difficult because the trauma involves the patient’s airway and their breathing is compromised. In these patients, mask ventilation and endotracheal intubation are anticipated to be difficult. Additionally, some of these patients may not yet have been cleared of a cervical spine injury, and all are regarded as having a full stomach and having an increased risk of regurgitation and pulmonary aspiration. The requirements of the intended maxillofacial operation may often preclude the use of an oral intubation tube, and alternative methods for securing the airway should be considered before the start of the surgery. In order to improve the clinical outcome of patients with maxillofacial trauma, cooperation between maxillofacial surgeons, anesthesiologists, and trauma specialists is needed. In this review, we discuss the complexity and difficulties of securing the airway of patients with maxillofacial trauma and present our approach for airway management of such patients.