Management of traumatic hyoid bone fractures: A case series

Divya Karna, Adrian S. Dragovic, Rishi Mehra, Biswadev Mitra

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Purpose: Hyoid bone fractures are uncommon, reported mainly in cases of hanging. There is a paucity of reports involving other mechanisms, and only a handful of case reports are available to guide the management of these fractures, especially within the emergency department setting. This study focused on identifying optimal initial airway management and subsequent treatment of patients with hyoid fractures. Methods: Patients presenting to an adult major trauma referral centre between January 2007 and July 2014 with a diagnosis of hyoid bone fracture were identified. Patient records were reviewed retrospectively. Results: Of the 19 patients identified, 16 cases were secondary to blunt force trauma. Motor vehicle crashes accounted for eight of the 19 cases. All patients with major trauma were intubated as part of their initial airway management, while 50% of the minor trauma patients were intubated. Only one patient underwent surgical repair of the hyoid bone. Most patients experienced excellent outcomes with no hyoid fracture-related complications. Conclusion: Early intubation for suspected hyoid fractures is advised for those with a penetrating mechanism of injury, clinical features of airway compromise, and severe associated injuries. Conservative, nonsurgical management of hyoid fractures remains the mainstay of management. A minimum 24-hour period of observation for patients who are not managed with endotracheal intubation is advised.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA6
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine Trauma & Acute Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • Hyoid
  • fracture
  • trauma
  • airway
  • management

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