Orbital blow out fracture

Case contributed by Dr Laughlin Dawes


Found lying on the ground with evidence of head and facial injuries.

Patient Data

Age: 20
Gender: Male

A coronal reformat image of a CT of the facial bones shows a depressed fracture of the floor of the right orbit. Extraconal intraorbital fat is herniating inferiorly through the fracture and the inferior rectus muscle is distorted and pulled inferiorly.

Case Discussion

A blow-out fracture is a fracture of one of the walls or floor of orbit with an intact orbital rim. It is the commonest orbital fracture, with orbital floor fractures more common than medial wall fractures. It is produced by a blow to the orbit which suddenly increases the intraorbital pressure, fracturing a portion of the orbital bony lining.

Complications of blowout fracture include enophthalmos due to increased globe volume, diplopia on vertical gaze due to tissue entrapment, and globe injury. Orbital emphysema or hemorrhage may occur. Injury to the inferior orbital nerve may cause facial numbness.

Indications for surgical repair include significant enophthalmos, significant diplopia, muscle entrapment, and large area fractures. Repair should be prompt to avoid longstanding complications. 

Case credit: Bernard Ng and Dr Laughlin Dawes

PlayAdd to Share

Case information

rID: 35968
Published: 7th May 2015
Last edited: 16th Jul 2018
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

Updating… Please wait.

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

 Thank you for updating your details.