Facial trauma or maxillofacial injuries are quite serious and require complex treatment. Injuries can vary and can include trauma involving the skin, soft tissue and fractures of the face. If injuries to the face are not treated appropriately, they can lead to long term issues and possible disfigurement.
The regions of the face are ordinarily divided into three parts:
- The upper face which involves the frontal bone and sinuses
- The midface which covers the nasal, ethmoid, zygomatic and maxillary bones
- The lower face, which is the jaw or mandible.
Facial trauma treatment can also involve the blood supply and nervous system in the above areas.
Causes of facial trauma
There are a number of causes that can lead to facial injury, these include but are not limited to:
- Road traffic accidents
- Sporting accidents
- Falls and trips
- Physical assault
Types of fractures
Some of the fractures concerned with maxillary injury include:
Frontal bone fractures
Usually occurs due to a high impact blow to the forehead. This can fracture the frontal sinus and cause tenderness to the brow area.
Orbital floor fractures
A fracture of the eye socket which can cause bleeding into the maxillary sinus.
Nasal fractures, or a broken nose, are the most common type of facial fracture accounting for some 40% of all facial injuries. A nasal fracture is determined by any fracture to one of the bones of the nose.
Nasoethmoidal fractures (NOE)
A nasoethmoidal fracture is a type of nasal fracture specifically involving the bridge of the nose. Injuries associated with this fracture can include damage to the central nervous system and further fractures to the middle face.
Zygomaticomaxillary complex fracture (ZMC)
A fracture of the cheek area. Signs of a ZMC fracture can include numbness of the cheek, nose, lip and gum. This is the second most common type of facial fracture.
Maxillary fractures (Le Fort I, II, or III)
These three types of fractures can occur in the middle face. Le Fort I is a fracture to the upper lip, under the nose. Le Fort II affects the area extending from the upper lip to the bridge of the nose and underneath the eye sockets. Le Fort III fractures involve the separation of bones through the entire middle of the face, from the upper lip to the eyebrow.
A broken jaw. This injury can be dangerous as it may lead to difficulty breathing and loss of teeth. There are various types of mandibular fractures and they can occur on different angles of the jaw.
A type of jaw fracture that specifically concern bone which holds teeth. These fractures are characterised by loose teeth, bleeding gums and damaged teeth.
This type of fracture occurs when there are multiple fractures in the three different areas of the face.
Consequence of facial trauma
There are a number of further complications which can occur from facial injury. The immediate dangers can be life threatening, so it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. These include:
- Difficulty breathing due to airway problems
- Airway blockages from bones or the tongue
If facial trauma is not treated by an appropriate specialist it can lead to long-term consequences such as:
- Scarring and deformity
- Chronic sinus issues
- Damage to your bite and teeth
- Nerve damage which can result in loss of facial sensations and dulling of senses
- Improper healing of fractures
Facial trauma treatment
Due to the varied nature of facial traumas, treatment is dependent on the type of injury sustained by the patient. Our experts at Norwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery will assess your injuries and carry out careful treatment based on their findings. The long term effects of facial trauma can be damaging, therefore we will ensure the upmost care is taken when treating your injuries.