Facial trauma is a term that refers to any injury that occurs to the face, primarily the nose and facial structure. It can be caused by a car accident due to a fall from height or other causes of blunt force trauma. The most common form of facial trauma is fractures which cause bone displacement resulting in deformations and disfigurements. These are often caused by impact with an object such as the dashboard of an automobile or slamming into a pylon in sports like football.
Types of Facial Trauma
Depending on the severity of the facial trauma, there are three types of injuries:
Fractures are broken bones caused by any external force – be it the action of the head in a car accident or the impact of a fall from height. Fractured vertebrae, facial bones, and skull bones can result in facial trauma. Fractures to the nose, cheeks, and brow can stretch connective tissue structures resulting in deformities. Treatments may involve surgery to repair damaged systems and reconstructive surgery necessary to restore standard form.
Disfigurement is the result of injury to the skin and surrounding tissues. Osteochondrosis or, more simply put, bone-to-bone contact is a common occurrence in cases of facial trauma. This can lead to swelling and pus formation, causing disfiguring changes to bone structure. The Cleft palate, which is the splitting of the soft tissue covering the lower part of the face, may also result. The severity and location of this type of trauma determine what sort of treatment will be necessary to restore form and function.
Scarring is a cluster of injuries that lead to blood vessels or scar tissue formation. Scars may appear red and raised after traumatic injury and frequently remain pale, shiny, and smooth. The appearance of scars can be modified by various treatments, including laser therapy, injections, and surgery. Scarring can be aesthetic depending on the severity and location of the trauma involved.
Treatment of Options for Facial Trauma
Depending on the nature and severity of the trauma, facial injuries will require careful examination and consideration of available treatment options. Treatment depends primarily on where the damage is located and how severe it is.
1. Open wounds
Open wounds or injuries to the neck, face, and head often lead to significant blood loss due to damage to facial veins. This may require surgical exploration of damaged structures and primary surgery to control bleeding or repair broken vessels. If extensive reconstruction is necessary, surgery may need to be delayed while the patient’s condition stabilizes. In some cases, surgery may be required immediately following the initial assessment if major vessels have been damaged or are at risk of further injury due to uncontrolled bleeding.
2. Fracture closures
Face fractures can be repaired by inserting plates and screws or other fixation devices to restore function and minimize deformity. In cases where the bone is displaced, reconstructive surgery may be necessary to correct jaw shape and reposition facial bones. Depending on the severity of the injury, reconstruction may require multiple surgeries or take several weeks or months.
3. Skin grafts
Instrumentation may be needed to repair skin that has been injured with scarring from secondary trauma from blows or impacts to facial bones. This surgery is usually started immediately after the injury has occurred to avoid further damage that could lead to deformity of the face.
4. Remodeling surgery
Remodeling surgery refers to the rebuilding or restructuring of displaced facial bones and tissue structures by restoring standard form and function. Surgery may be required to reconstruct normal tissue and muscle contours, reposition superficial muscles or smooth muscle and reposition superficial nerves or nerve endings. This type of surgery will require multiple procedures depending on the extent of bodily injury and repairs necessary. Click here for more information to find out about this treatment option.
5. Primary care
First aid for facial injuries can be achieved using sterile and simple bandaging techniques. Careful consideration of cosmetic appearance should be given to ensure that facial tissues are chosen which will not further disfigure or injure any surrounding tissues.
Treatment of Facial Trauma at Home
Sometimes, facial trauma may have low levels of severity which may be treated at home by providing special care to the injured person. A few measures are sufficient to prevent any trouble and danger caused by facial trauma.
- Clean the wounds with appropriate first aid solutions and dressings by using sterile towel strips or adhesive bandages if necessary
- Use a warm moist cloth on any face or eye injuries to help prevent infection
- Keep face and eye wounds dry; otherwise, they may lead to infection
- Apply ice or cold packs to the face for 20 minutes at a time if there is pain or pain will not pass
- Apply gentle pressure for up to 10 minutes if there is swelling. However, swelling will increase if pressure is applied for longer periods. Therefore, the amount of pressure depends on the severity of the condition.
- Use an adhesive bandage to secure any facial injuries and ensure the bandage does not come off. Please do not remove it unless you are directed otherwise by a doctor
- See your doctor ideally within 4 hours in severe cases or 24 hours in minor ones.
Prevention of Facial Trauma
Many preventative measures can be taken to help prevent facial trauma. It is important to follow a healthy lifestyle and be aware of any situations that may lead to a destructive force.
- Be cautious while lifting heavy objects with your hands or wrists
- Avoid unnecessary rough contact between objects that could cause injury
- Avoid excessive head-turning or bending, and avoid the extended blow, punch or kick to the face
- Use protective equipment when necessary, such as boxing gloves for sparring
Facial trauma can indeed occur, and it is essential to understand the treatment options available. It generally occurs from physical harm. However, many considerations will determine whether treatment is necessary. If your injury requires immediate attention, it is recommended to seek medical attention immediately. If you have minor injuries that can be treated at home, it may be best to keep an eye on them for several days to track any changes in the appearance or location of the injury.