Could My Chin Have Developed A Tumor From An Old Fracture?

Q: Dr. Eppley, When I was six years old I had a serious road accident and fractured my chin bone, as I was so young, and we are going back to 1987 healthcare, they stitched me up and let me heal naturally although as I grew to a teenager I developed an under bite, not severe but definitely noticeable until as an adult by shire luck my face filled out and a regained a natural bite, with I might add straight teeth. Every so often however, if I have had a throat infection I have sometimes gasped in pain with accidently knocking the region just tucked to the back of the chin, I believe known as the Mentalis muscle. It certainly feels very central and extremely tender. I wonder whether 1) Is sensitivity normal around the mentalis and 2) Would it be wise to get the area Xrayed or CT scanned to check for tumour if it does feel like a lump has developed in the region? Looking forward to your expertise.

A: This sounds like you had an original non-displaced symphyseal fracture through the chin. It would be normal to not treat these surgery unless there was displacement of the fracture, particularly at 5 years of age. I doubt very highly that you would have developed a 'tumor' from this fracture but there is only one way to know for sure. Get a screening panorex x-ray first and see what that shows. This is a scout film of the jaw that provides a good view of the chin and will show if there are any bony abnormalities. If this film is negative then I would doubt a CT scan would be more useful.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana