Doctor's Notes on Facial Fracture
A facial fracture refers to any injury that results in a bone or bones of the face being broken. Common causes of facial fractures can include car accidents, sports injuries, falls, and assaults.
Symptoms of facial fracture that are common to any fractured bone include
- swelling, and
Other symptoms of facial fracture are specific to the part of the face that is injured. Symptoms of a broken nose include
- deformity, and
Fracture of the bones inside the nose may cause the brain to connect with the outside environment and symptoms may include persistent nosebleeds or a clear nasal discharge. Symptoms of a broken jaw include
- jaw pain,
- inability to bring the teeth together properly, and
- bruising under the tongue.
Symptoms of midface fracture include
- the inability to bring the teeth together properly,
- visual problems,
- clear nasal discharge,
- bruising around the eyes, and
- in severe cases, difficulty breathing.
Symptoms of cheekbone fracture include
- the flatness of the cheek,
- altered sensation underneath the eye on the affected side,
- visual complaints,
- pain with jaw movement, and
- blood in the side of the eye on the affected side.
Symptoms of eye socket fracture include
- sunken eye,
- altered sensation beneath the affected eye, and
- double vision.
What is the Treatment for a Facial Fracture?
Facial fracture treatment depends on the location of the facial fracture, the severity of the injury, and other complicating factors such as open wounds or injuries to the brain or eyes.
Facial fractures are treated by specially trained surgeons called a maxillo-facial surgeon or an otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor, or ENT).
The usual treatment for facial fractures involves ensuring the fractured bones are lined up so they will heal properly. This can be done by a “reduction” of the fracture, either by external manipulation of the fractured bone pieces or by surgical repair, which is called “fixation.”
The most common fracture of the face, a nasal bone fracture, is often treated conservatively and rarely needs surgery. When surgery is needed, it is often done after the swelling to the nose and face has gone down.
Facial fractures that impinge on nerves or that impede breathing or swallowing are generally treated with surgery. Multiple fractures to several bones in the same area of the face may require extensive surgical reconstruction. Jaw (mandible) fractures usually require surgery to realign the teeth and minimize the risk of infections from mouth bacteria.
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Broken NoseA broken nose (nasal fracture) is any crack or fracture in the bony portion of the nose. Causes of a broken nose include fights, sports injuries, motor vehicle accidents, and falls. Symptoms of a broken nose include tenderness when touching the nose, bruised nose, black eye, nosebleed, and difficulty breathing through the nostrils. Treatment for a broken nose depends on the severity of the fracture.
CT Scan (CAT Scan, Computerized Axial Tomography)What is a CT scan? Computerized tomography scans (CT scans) are important diagnostic tools for a variety of medical conditions. Some areas of the body frequently evaluated by CT scans include the brain, neck, spine, chest, abdomen, pelvis, and sinuses. The CT scan process uses X-rays and a computer to produce cross-sectional images of the body.
Fractures or DislocationsFractures are breaks in bone and are classified according to several different categories. Compound fractures are the most dangerous; the bone is broken into fragments that come through the skin. Treatment includes setting the broken bone and splinting the injury, among other steps. Steps are taken to prevent infection if the skin is broken.
How Long Does It Take to Recover from an Avulsion Fracture?An avulsion fracture occurs when a bone fragment is pulled away from its main bone by soft tissue such as ligaments or tendons attached to it. Avulsion fractures can occur in any area where soft tissue is attached to bone. Recovery time from an avulsion fracture can range from several weeks to several months, depending on the severity of the injury, the location of the injury, and how promptly the injury is diagnosed and treated.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a scanner that takes cross-sectional images of the body. It is used to evaluate tissues of the head, neck, chest, limbs, abdomen, and pelvis. MRI is a very safe procedure; sedation may be used for infants, small children, or adults who are claustrophobic.
What Are the Types of Fractures?A fracture is a broken bone, and there are several types. These types of fractures include stable fracture, open (compound) fracture, transverse fracture, oblique fracture, and comminuted fracture.
X-RaysX-Rays are a form of radiation used to image solid forms inside the body. X-rays are administered by radiologists for many different routine tests, such as mammograms, checking for broken bones, upper GI series, and dental exams, among others. Radiologists carefully monitor the X-ray equipment to make sure the patient receives the smallest dose of radiation possible.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.