Facial Trauma – Types & Treatment
Broken bones in the face are known as facial fractures or facial trauma. Facial trauma is also called maxillofacial trauma. Facial trauma refers to skin injuries like burns, cuts, bruises, and facial bone fractures involving nose bones, cheekbones, and upper & lower jaws.
The effects of facial injuries can be severe and may result in functional impairment. For example, when a person breaks his jaw bone, he can’t move his jaws. Sometimes facial injuries are fatal and may cause life-threatening complications or even interfere with the airway. According to the severity of the facial injury, treatment options will vary as well.
Types Of Facial Fractures
There are several types of facial fractures classified based on the fracture location.
Frontal bone fractures – forehead injury
Orbital floor fractures – injury around the eyes
Nasal fractures – nose bone injuries
Nasoethmoidal fractures – ethmoid bones injury
Maxillary fractures – upper jaw bone damage
Mandibular fracture – mandibular bone damage
Alveolar fractures – complete or partial displacement of the teeth and/or the jaw.
Pan facial bone fractures – these bone fractures involve damage to the skull, mouth, cheekbone, and mandible (lower jaw or jawbone).
Causes of Facial Injuries
Blunt or penetrating trauma can cause facial fractures.
- Blunt injuries are commonly caused by accidents, contact sports, and falls.
- A gunshot, stabbing, or explosion can cause penetrating injuries.
- Other causes of injuries include animal attacks and workplace accidents.
Fractures of the nasal region are common among children, and the most common cause of facial injuries is vehicle trauma.
Symptoms Of Maxillofacial Injuries
Fractures of the facial bones are also accompanied by swelling, bruising, and pain. Some of these symptoms can persist even without fractures.
- Nasal and skull fractures, or fractures of the maxilla, can cause profuse nosebleeds.
- Fractures of the nose may result in swelling, bruising and bone damage.
- Sunken cheekbones or misaligned teeth
- Twisted nose or curved bridge
- Asymmetries in facial fractures indicate nerve damage.
- In the case of eye socket damage, people may experience signs of redness, bleeding, blurry eyesight and a black eye.
- In the case of mandibular fractures, people may experience pain, numbness in their lips & chin and face difficulty in opening their mouth.
- When you have a Le Fort fracture, your midface might move along your skull or near the rest of your face.
Facial fractures are most commonly characterized by bruises and swelling.
Treatment for Facial Trauma
If you suffer a facial fracture, your treatment options are determined by the type & severity of fracture or any other problems you may have at the time. Depending on the severity of the injuries, treatment may involve applying ice, antibiotics and pain medication for bruises and bandaging and suturing for open injuries and surgery.
A surgeon generally tries to realign the broken bones after a fracture (called ‘reducing’ the fracture) and stabilize them to prevent future complications. In some cases, the surgeon may use wires, screws, or plates at or near the fracture site to hold the bone still in place.
In case of life-threatening conditions like open airway or blockage of the airway or injuries that affect the brain, nervous, or heart, surgery is necessary immediately.
During treatment, the goal is to repair and restore the natural shape of the face as much as possible without leaving any visible traces of the injury. An alternative option to reconstruct the facial bone is bone grafting. With grafting, the missing bone can be filled and supported structurally. Experts say that facial injuries treated within hours or days have better functional and cosmetic outcomes.
If you have had any facial fractures and want to know about treatment, consult Dr Abhinand Potturi, one of the best maxillofacial surgeons in Hyderabad. Chief Consultant, Department of Maxillofacial & Reconstructive Surgery, incharge – Oral Cancer Screening clinics at Premier Hospital, Mehdipatnam, Hyderabad.
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