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Focus: Digestive and Integumentary Systems

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Seven-year-old Clay Davis is now recovering from maxillofacial surgery for a symphyseal fracture midline on the lower mandible (see Chapter 6). Because of the instability of this type of fracture, Clay's fracture was surgically reduced and fixed with titanium mini-plates to achieve rigid fixation. There was no need to wire his upper and lower jaws. The oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Dr. Sandor, has left the operating room to speak with Clay's parents, who are nervously awaiting the results in the OR patient waiting room.

 

Patient Update

"Mr. and Mrs. Davis?" inquired a surgeon who was wearing blue scrubs. Mrs. Mickey Davis extended her hand. Clay's father, Steve Davis, stood up from where he had been sitting on a settee and shook the doctor's outstretched hand. "We met downstairs in ER," the doctor added. "I'm Dr. Sandor, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon here at Okla." Mickey Davis came to her husband's side. Both parents greeted Dr. Sandor with worried, nervous looks. "Your son is fine," Dr. Sandor calmly asserted, in a voice that was both confident and compassionate. "It's been a long operation for a child, but he's doing just fine." She paused for a moment to let this information sink in. The parents sighed in unison, and the surgeon could see them both relax some of the tension that they'd been holding in their shoulders.

"Can we see him?" Clay's mother asked eagerly.

Dr. Sandor shook her head. "Not just yet. Clay is still in PAR recovering from the anesthetic, and we need to leave him there with the nurses for about another hour, I'd say. Then he'll be moved to Pediatrics and back to Dr. Lincoln's care. That's up on the fourth floor, in the west wing." Mickey looked confused. "I believe you met Dr. Lincoln earlier today in the ER?" Dr. Sandor asked. The Davises confirmed that they had, but said that they didn't know where the pediatric unit was. "Don't worry about that right now," Dr. Sandor replied. "One of the nurses will come out to speak with you when the time comes, and he or she will tell you how to get there."

"Doctor, what exactly is happening with Clay?" asked Steve. "We don't have a lot of information. When we got here, our son was already being rushed up to surgery."

"As you know, your son was in a motor vehicle accident, and he received a traumatic injury to his lower jaw," explained Dr. Sandor. "His injury is called a symphyseal fracture." With her finger, Dr. Sandor drew a line down the middle of her jaw from top to bottom to illustrate what she meant. "To stabilize and repair that, we attached a titanium metal mini-plate across the fracture line."

"A plate," said Clay's father. "I thought he was going to have his jaw wired shut. How long will he have a ...

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