This site is targeted at medical and radiology professionals, contains user contributed content, and material that may be confusing to a lay audience. Use of this site implies acceptance of our Terms of Use.

Le Fort fracture classification

Le Fort fractures are fractures of the midface, which collectively involve separation of all or a portion of the maxilla from the skull base. The Le Fort classification system attempts to distinguish according to the plane of injury.  


The commonly used classification is as follows:

  • Le Fort type 1
    • horizontal maxillary fracture, separating the teeth from the upper face
    • fracture line passes through the alveolar ridge, lateral nose and inferior wall of maxillary sinus
  • Le Fort type 2
    • pyramidal fracture, with the teeth at the pyramid base, and nasofrontal suture at its apex
    • fracture arch passes through posterior alveolar ridge, lateral walls of maxillary sinuses, inferior orbital rim and nasal bones
  • Le Fort type 3
    • craniofacial disjunction
    • fracture line passes through nasofrontal suture, maxillo-frontal suture, orbital wall and zygomatic arch

History and etymology

Named after René Le Fort, French surgeon (1869-1951). Legend has it Le Fort did his work by dropping cannon balls on cadaver heads and then dissecting the results.

Practical points

  • fracture of the pterygoid plates is common to all Le Fort fractures
  • if the anterolateral margins of the nasal fossa are intact it excludes a type 1 fracture
  • if the infraorbital rims are intact it excludes a type 2 fracture
  • if the zygomatic arch is intact it excludes a type 3 fracture

Updating… Please wait.


Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

Alert_accept Thank you for updating your details.