The Adelaide Facial Bone Rule: A simple prediction model and clinical guideline for the presence of facial fractures using CT brain scans in victims of minor trauma

Sarah Constantine, Amy Salter, Jennie Louise, Peter J. Anderson

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Facial fractures bleed, resulting in high-density fluid in the sinuses (haemosinus) on computed tomography (CT) scans. A CT brain scan includes most maxillary sinuses in the scan field, which should allow detection of haemosinus as an indirect indicator of a facial fracture without the need for an additional CT facial bone scan, yet no robust evidence for this exists in the literature. The aim of this study was to determine whether the presence of haemosinus on a CT brain scan, alone or in combination with other clinical information, can predict the presence of facial fractures. Methods: 1231 adult patients, who had both brain and facial CT scans performed on the same day, were selected from a seven year period. Patients were eligible if scans were requested for trauma. Brain and facial scans were reviewed separately for the presence of facial fractures, haemosinus, emphysema and intra-cranial haemorrhage. Prediction modelling was used to assess whether findings from brain scans could be used to identify patients requiring further CT scanning. Findings: The full prediction model included four predictors and showed excellent discrimination (AUROC 0.982; 95 % CI 0.971 – 0.993). A simplified model, more suitable for clinical implementation, used only facial fractures and haemosinus as predictors. This model showed only marginally poorer discrimination (AUROC 0.964; 95 % CI 0.945 – 0.983) and excellent performance on other measures. Conclusion: Based on the excellent performance of the simplified prediction model, we present the Adelaide Facial Bone Rule: The absence of blood in the sinuses or facial fractures on a CT brain scan means a CT facial bone scan does not need to be routinely performed in the setting of clinically-determined minor trauma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111302
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • CT scan
  • Facial bones
  • Prediction modelling
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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