Facial Fracture (cont.)
When to Seek Medical Care
A doctor should check all people with facial trauma and any significant facial injury. The affected individual can either see a doctor or go to the emergency department.
In the event of serious trauma, 911 should be called.
If a person experiences the following symptoms, seek medical attention.
Clear nasal discharge
Loss of consciousness
Any visual disturbance such as double or blurry vision
Any hearing problem
Inability to bring teeth together
Pain with jaw movement
Altered sensation on the face
Face uneven (asymmetrical)
Open wounds with visible bone
Facial Fracture Diagnosis
- Even if a person has an injury to the nose, it is rare that X-rays will be needed to guide the treatment. A nasal fracture is usually diagnosed by physical exam. The initial care for a nasal injury does not change even if the patient has a fracture.
- If a fracture of the bones high up inside the nose (ethmoid bones) is suspected, the doctor may order a CT scan.
Jaw (mandibular) fracture: If the patient has a possible jaw fracture, the doctor may order an X-ray. Sometimes a special dental X-ray machine may be used to help in the diagnosis. Not all hospitals have this equipment.
Midface (maxillary) fracture
- Because they are most often caused in car accidents, fractures of the midface are often associated with other significant, potentially life-threatening injuries. So diagnosing a facial fracture is often not the most important part of the patient's early treatment.
- After the patient is stabilized, a CT scan of the face is the most useful imaging study to check for a midface fracture.
Cheekbone (zygomatic) fracture
- If the patient is evaluated immediately, the doctor can usually diagnose these by physical exam. This becomes more difficult with time because of swelling.
- Special X-ray views of the zygomatic bone are often helpful. If the patient has a severe fracture involving other bones of the face, the doctor may also order a CT scan to get more information.
Eye socket (orbital) fracture
- X-rays may be helpful in the initial diagnosis.
- If a fracture of the eye socket is shown on your X-ray, the patient will probably have a CT scan to get more information.
Temporomandibular joint dislocation
- If the dislocation is the result of trauma, an X-ray will be done to rule out a fracture of the jaw.
- The patient will not need an X-ray if you have a spontaneous or recurrent dislocation.
Facial Fracture Self-Care at Home
Home care is limited until a doctor sees the injured person.
Use an ice pack on the area to help with pain and swelling.
Apply direct pressure to bleeding areas.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/26/2016
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