Just like all bones throughout your body, bones in your face are vulnerable to fractures. While a broken nose is the most common, you can also break your forehead, cheekbones, jaw, and eye sockets. And once you have one or more facial fractures, you run the risk of complications that can affect your appearance and physical function.
Board-certified oculofacial plastic surgeon Robert M. Schwarcz, MD, provides orbital and facial reconstructive surgery to help minimize the effects of facial fractures. In this post, we take a closer look at facial fractures, including potential complications and repair procedures.
Facial fracture causes and complications
Most any impact that affects your face can lead to a facial fracture. Especially common causes include:
- Car accidents
- Physical fights
- Domestic violence
- Sports injuries
- Workplace accidents
At most any point, even after a broken facial bone has healed, you can end up with various complications. Some complications are on the milder side, such as bruising or swelling, and they resolve on their own with healing. For more serious injuries, severe complications can occur.
Depending on the location and severity of your facial fracture, you could experience:
- Facial disfigurement, such as sunken-in eyes or flat cheeks
- Limited function, such as having a hard time fully opening or closing your jaw
- Eye damage or vision problems, such as blurriness, double vision, or blindness
- Brain damage
- Recurrent nosebleeds from a broken nose
You also may suffer from lingering pain or altered sensation, such as numbness.
Facial fracture treatment
Treatment for facial fractures aims to restore normal function and appearance that you lost with the injury. Oftentimes, initial treatment for a facial fracture involves medications to minimize pain and swelling. If you have a high risk of infection, you’ll also need antibiotics.
Some facial fractures can be treated with a closed reduction, which resets the break without exposing the bone. If needed, open reduction is a surgical procedure that accesses the bones to reposition them so they’re properly aligned. Complex facial fractures that involve multiple bones require reconstructive surgery.
When considering surgical repair for the effects of a facial fracture, it’s important to consult with a qualified expert promptly. Rather than wait for full healing, aim to talk to a specialist as close to the injury date as possible.
To learn more about facial fracture corrective surgery, call one of our offices — in the Upper East Side of Manhattan and in Scarsdale, New York — to book an appointment with Dr. Schwarcz. You can also request a consultation using our online scheduling tool.