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Home :: Facial Bone Fracture

Facial Bone Fracture

A complete or incomplete break in one or several bones in the face.

BODY PARTS INVOLVED

  • Facial bones: upper jaw (maxilla), cheek bones, malar and other bones that form the eye sockets (orbits), and nose.
  • Joints between bones listed above.
  • Teeth.
  • Eyes and nose.
  • Soft tissue around the fracture site, including nerves, tendons, ligaments, periosteum (covering to bone), blood vessels and connective tissue.

Causes

Many situations can cause facial fractures. Motor vehicle crashes, sporting injuries, falls, and assault account for the majority, although injuries from gunshot wounds and stabbings occur as well.

Always be concerned about other injuries with facial fractures. In particular, other parts of the body may be injured, for example, if you have facial injuries in a motor vehicle accident.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Severe pain at the injury site.
  • Swelling and bruising of soft tissue around the fracture, including black eyes.
  • Visible deformity if the fracture is complete and bone fragments separate enough to distort normal facial contours.
  • Tenderness to the touch.
  • Numbness around the fracture site.
  • Bleeding from the nose or eye.
  • You may also have double vision or numbness in your cheek.

Treatment

Follow your doctor's instructions. Instructions are supplemental.

  • A broken jaw is corrected by securing the teeth with wire or plastic splints so the Jaw heals in its proper position.
  • Surgery is frequently necessary to realign facial bones and restore a normal appearance. For best results it should be done as soon as possible after injury.

During convalescence:

  • Don't exercise to the point that you must pant for breath, because breathing may be difficult for a while.
  • Protect the face from pressure. Sleep on your back.
  • Don't blow your nose hard or use makeup until healing is complete.
  • If your jaws are wired, learn how to release them quickly in case of emergency, such as severe coughing or vomiting.

Home Diet

  • Drink only water before manipulation or surgery to treat the fracture. Solid food in your stomach makes vomiting while under anesthesia more hazardous.
  • Eat a high-protein, liquid diet for several days. If your jaw is wired, a liquid diet will be necessary for up to 8 weeks. Add soft solid foods as you are able.
Prevention Tips

These injuries are often associated with alcohol use and fighting, motor vehicle accidents, and playing sports.

Wear protective face masks and headgear when cycling or competing in contact sports. The use of protective equipment has significantly decreased the incidence of facial fractures.

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