Facial trauma is any injury of the face and upper jaw bone (maxilla).
Blunt or penetrating trauma can cause injury to the area of the face that includes the upper jaw (maxilla). Common causes of injury to the face include:
- Automobile accidents
- Penetrating injuries
- Changes in sensation and feeling over the face
- Deformed or uneven face or facial bones
- Difficulty breathing through the nose due to swelling and bleeding
- Double vision
- Missing teeth
- Swelling around the eyes that may cause vision problems
Exams and Tests
The doctor will perform a physical exam, which may show:
- Bleeding from the nose, eyes, or mouth, or nasal blockage
- Breaks in the skin (lacerations)
- Bruising around the eyes or widening of the distance between the eyes, which may mean injury to the bones between the eye sockets
The following may suggest bone fractures and may require a CT scan of the head:
- Abnormal sensations on the cheek and irregularities that can be felt
- An upper jaw that moves when the head is still
Patients who cannot function normally or who have significant deformity will need surgery.
The goal of treatment is to:
- Control bleeding
- Create a clear airway
- Fix broken bone segments with titanium plates and screws
- Leave the fewest scars possible
- Rule out other injuries
- Treat the fracture
Treatment should be immediate, as long as the person is stable and there are no neck fractures or life-threatening injuries.
Injuries to the nose, face, throat or neck should be evaluated by a medical doctor and may require an exam by an otorhinolaryngologist (ears, nose and throat physician).
Learn more about trauma treatment, outlook and prevention.