Facial Fracture Repairs
Facial fracture repairs are surgeries that correct abnormalities resulting from broken bones in the face. Sometimes, the plastic surgeon will be called in immediately to correct the problem after an injury. In other cases, it may not be evident right away that plastic surgery is necessary, and the facial fracture repair may take place sometime later.
Who Can Benefit From Facial Fracture Repairs?
If you have had an accident that caused a facial bone to break, and your face no longer looks the same as before the accident, you may be a good candidate for a facial fracture repair. This surgery may also be necessary in order to restore proper function to the injured areas, such as impaired breathing or sight. These include nose fractures, jaw fractures, fractures of the skull or cheekbones, sinuses, and even the bones surrounding the eyes.
What is the Procedure Like?
Each surgery is highly individualized depending upon the fracture, the area of the face that is affected, and what is necessary to correct it. Every patient will be different. Whenever possible, however, the doctor will try to keep the incisions inside the mouth where scars will not be visible. In some cases, endoscopy may be possible, which is a minimally invasive surgery that allows for a tiny incision and a camera to assist the surgeon in making precise and intricate corrections.
With simpler surgeries, such as a nose fracture repair, you may be allowed to go home within a few hours of surgery. For more extensive surgeries, you may be required to remain in the hospital for a few days. For jaw fractures, screws are sometimes required to hold the jaw bones in place so that you maintain a good bite. Without a good bite, you would not be able to chew properly, and you could develop related problems over time. More complex fractures may require borrowing bone and/or skin from other parts of the body and grafting it in the injured facial area.
What Can I Expect During Recovery?
Nose fractures are the most common. A small cast is placed on the nose for about two weeks, after which you can wear makeup and return to work. Some swelling and bruising may remain, and you will be given a prescription for pain medication. For other fractures, the recovery period will vary greatly depending upon the extent of your surgery. The doctor will give you detailed instructions about how to take care of yourself, when you can return to work, when stitches will be removed, and when you can drive and resume your exercise program or sports activities.
You will be given a prescription for pain medication and will probably experience some pain, swelling, and bruising after your surgery. You may also be given a prescription for an antibiotic, and the doctor may suggest you keep your head elevated for the first few days to reduce swelling. Obviously, an injury to the face is a traumatic experience, and the doctor will do everything possible to make you comfortable and avoid any subsequent scarring. The facial fracture repair surgery is done so that you can return to normal as quickly as possible, looking like your old self.
What Are the Risks of Facial Fracture Repairs?
Facial fracture repairs are generally very safe, but the doctor will discuss any risks with you. These risks vary depending upon the area of the face that is affected.