When people meet a vehicle accident or a sports injury, an interpersonal violence etc, they usually have sustained facial trauma. In such cases, they suffer from not only complex physical trauma but emotional as well. Such patients need acute treatment, rehabilitation, and recreation of the damaged facial features. Facial fractures surgery is conducted by specially trained surgeons to deal with complex facial injuries.
Types and Symptoms of Facial Fractures
All the facial injuries can be broadly categorise. Fractured facial bones – These injuries are related to cheek, jaw, nose, and orbits. Then there are facial lacerations and intra-oral lacerations. Some patients also have their teeth knocked out, known as avulsed.
Here are some of the common facial fractures and their symptoms
Forehead fracture (frontal bone)
- Injuries to the eyes
- The Inverted forehead
- Mostly pain around the sinuses
Broken cheekbone/upper jaw (zygomaticmaxillary fracture)
- Pain with jaw movement
- Problems with eyesight
- Flatness of the cheek
- Sensation underneath the eye
Eye socket (orbital) fracture
- Bleeding or redness in the white of the eye
- A black eye
- Swelling of the cheek or forehead
- Decreased vision
- Numbness felt mostly in the forehead, eyelids, cheek, or upper lip
Broken nose (nasal fracture)
- Difficulty breathing
- Bruising around the nose
Midface (maxillary) fracture:
· Swelling or deformity on the face
- Missing or lose teeth
- Numbness in the lower lip or chin
- Swelling or tenderness along the jaw
- Difficulty in bring the teeth together (malocclusion)
Facial Fracture Procedure and Treatment
Typically, facial fractures can be put in three broad categories.
1. Soft tissue injuries
If there are soft tissue injuries of the face, the physician will repair it by facial suturing. But care is take to repair in such a way that the best cosmetic results are achieve. The area must also heal normally. The physician take care that the facial nerves, structure, vessels, and glands are not hurt. So, first there is a careful examination of the injuries to find out the damaged are precisely.
2. Bone injuries
An aim of bone injuries treatment is to reduce and stabilise the injuries. This implies that the bone is returned to its original position and then to keep the bone there permanently. When an arm is injured, a cast is applied to lend support. But cast cannot be applied to facial injuries. So, the physicians use a special techniques and materials to provide the support to the injured bones for healing.
One of the methods is to use jaw fractures, which is call inter-maxillary fixation. In this method, the physician places surgical braces around the teeth. After that, the braces are fix. This method is know as wiring the jaws together. For fractures related to upper and lower jaws, this is the best method to entirely stabilise the injured area.
Rigid fixation is another method use for fracture stabilisation. In this method, small titanium plates and screws are place using surgery to stabilise the fractured area.
3. Injuries to the teeth and surrounding area
One of the most common facial injuries is related to the teeth. This type of facial trauma requires the expertise of many dental specialists and they work together to heal an injury. They can stabilise the fractures that are otherwise seem to be difficult to handle. The physician will place implants and bone grafting in the facial areas. Typically, the teeth are wire or bond together. Later on, an endodontist and the restorative dentist will treat the teeth issues once the injury has been addressed at the first stage.
In some cases, the patients have severe teeth injuries or teeth are lost completely. In such a condition, dental implants are the best option where the missing teeth are replace with natural looking teeth.
Facial Fracture Surgery Recovery
The recovery period after facial fractures surgery depends on the type of injury or trauma. If it is only a swollen and bruised injury, it may take only 5-7 days for the reduction in the swelling and another 10-14 days when the bruising finally goes away. If there are stitches, the doctor will remove them in a week but it may take a month to heal the injury after the surgery.
You should take a good personal care of yourself for a faster recovery. Take plenty of rest and get enough sleep. You should avoid any activity until the doctor permits. Clean your teeth and mouth as per your doctor’s advice only.
Take the soft diet and drink your meal through a straw. You should drink plenty of fluids so that you are not dehydrate. Also, follow the instruction of your doctor about the new medicines. If you were taking medicines before the surgery, start taking them only with the permission of your doctor.