Injuries of the Jaws and Face
Facial injuries can affect the upper jaw, lower jaw, cheek, nose, eye socket. They maybe in some cases limited to only soft tissues of the face and mouth, or in severe cases, involve the jaw bones and bones of the facial skeleton.
Facial injuries most commonly occur during:
- Sports or recreational activities.
- Motor vehicle crashes.
How is a Facial Injury Diagnosed?
When making a diagnosis, your doctor will begin by asking about your medical history, including any events that may have caused your facial injury.
A thorough physical and medical examination will also be conducted, to note any injuries to your face and other parts of your body. This may be followed by relevant X-rays and CT scan of the head and face. Specific X-rays are needed depending on exact nature and site of injuries.
Many people with facial injuries also suffer from additional injuries. In such cases additional x-rays, investigations and consultations with other medical specialists may be needed.
FMS is equipped with Cone Beam CT SCAN, OPG/Panorama Xrays and RVGs to assess the jaw and facial bone fractures.
Treatment for a facial injury
Depending on these factors, a decision may be made to treat the injury surgically or non-surgically.
- Non-surgical treatment mostly consists of stabilizing the jaw bones by using wires and certain other equipment and supported with analgesics and antibiotics. This is usually done when
- The injuries are minor
- Patient is medically unfit for surgery
- General anesthesia cannot be given
- Surgical treatment involves surgical exposure of the fracture sites, which are then aligned and fixed with titanium miniplates & screws, lag screws etc.
- Most common approach for fixing jaw fractures is from inside the mouth, thus avoiding any risk of scarring.
- Some facial fractures though may need incisions on the face, but are placed in certain areas and skin creases, so that they are not prominent after healing.
- This requires general anesthesia in most cases followed by stabilization of both the jaws together for a few weeks.
What happens after surgery?
- If you had a general anesthetic you will need to stay in the hospital for a couple of days in case you experience problems and need help.
- You will be given instructions about looking after the surgical site when you go home and suitable pain medication and appropriate antibiotics or mouthwashes to take home.
- Stitches are usually removed 10-14 days after the surgery.
Recovery from the Surgery
- After the operation you will have some swelling and bruising. This will rapidly begin to subside over the first 1-2weeks.
- It takes 6-8 weeks for the complete healing of the jaw bone fractures, but you can resume to your routine work after 2 weeks of surgery
- For operations on the lower jaw it is fairly common to have some numbness of the lower lip for some weeks or months afterwards. In a very small number of cases a residual area of numbness will remain.