Oral and Maxillofacial Injuries in Civilian Recruits During Mandatory Combat Training at Military Garrisons: A Nationwide Survey




Background: There is significant prevalence of physical injuries sustained by civilian recruits at military training garrisons. Civilian recruits sustain these injuries mostly during the intensive and rigorous military combat-training period. Objectives: We sought to determine the prevalence and causes of oral and maxillofacial injuries as the first step in reducing and preventing them in civilian recruits (males aged over18 years) during their 2-year mandatory military service. Materials and Methods: In this 2-year study, we referred to 11major military training garrisons in 8 provinces and collected data from available medical records of military clinics at each garrison. Injuries occurring in civilian recruits during the intense 2-month military combat training period were documented. Data regarding the number of civilian trainees, percentage of those injured, site where the injury was sustained, type of injury and its causes, etc. as well as demographic data were collected. Results: The number of civilians called to military service was 153, 886. The ratio of those injured was 4419/153,886. The percentage of maxillofacial injuries was 20.4% (903/4419). The majorities of maxillofacial injuries occurred during the first month (38%) and were due to nonmilitary (86%) rather than military (14%) causes. From among the military causes, bullets (66%) were the most common cause of injury, while falls (73%) were the major cause of nonmilitary injuries. Mountainous terrain was the main cause of falls (51%). The most common military incidents which led to injury were related to artillery fire and explosions (33%). Nasal bone fracture was the most common maxillofacial fracture (49%), and lacerations were the most common soft tissue injury (54%). Among dental injuries, tooth fracture was most common (66%). Conclusions: The large number of general and maxillofacial injuries in civilian recruits during the 2-month combat-training period at military garrisons is disconcerting. This issue warrants further research to implement methods for identifying, decreasing, and preventing injuries in civilians at military-training garrisons.