What are Facial Fractures and Treatments?

Dr Foram Bhuta

Dr Foram Bhuta

BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery), 10 years of experience

December 14, 2021 Bone Health 153 Views

English हिन्दी Bengali

What is the meaning of Facial Fractures?

A broken bone in the face is known as a facial fracture.

Many bones from a part of the facial skeleton, including the following:

  • Nasal bones (nose)
  • Frontal bone (forehead)
  • Orbital bones (sockets of the eye)
  • Zygomas (cheekbones)
  • Maxillary bone (upper jaw)
  • Mandible (lower jaw)

In addition to the above bones, there are several other bones present deeper within the face. The muscles necessary for swallowing, chewing, and talking are attached to these skeletal bones. Nose or nasal fractures are the most common type of facial fracture. A facial fracture may involve the fracture of only one bone or may involve multiple facial bones. Multiple fractures are most commonly seen during an injury or accident.

The facial fractures may be unilateral (involving only one side of the face) or bilateral (involving both sides of the face).

In this article, we will be discussing in detail about facial fractures and their treatments.

  • What are the different types of Facial Fractures?
  • What are the causes of Facial Fractures?
  • What are the symptoms of Facial Fractures?
  • How to diagnose Facial Fractures?
  • What are the treatments for Facial Fractures?
  • What are the complications of Facial Fractures?
  • How to prevent Facial Fractures?
  • What to care at home for Facial Fractures?
  • What is the cost of Facial Fracture Treatments in India?

What are the different types of Facial Fractures?

The different types of facial fractures include:

Nasal bone fractures:

  • A broken nose or nasal bone fracture is the most common type of facial fracture.
  • The nasal bone is made up of two thin bones. It takes less force to break the thin and prominent nasal bones as compared to the other facial bones.
  • The nose appears to be deformed and feels sore on touching following a fracture. One may notice swelling in the affected area.
  • The most common symptoms of nasal fractures are bruising and nosebleeds.

Frontal bone fractures:

  • A fracture in the forehead area is known as a frontal bone fracture.
  • It can occur due to an injury to the head. This can cause the bone to be pushed inward.
  • It is most commonly seen in the middle part of the forehead, where the bone is the weakest and thinnest.
  • This type of fracture can cause eye injuries, damage to the sinus ducts, and leakage of the cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord).

Zygomaticomaxillary fractures:

  • These are fractures involving the cheekbones, upper jaw, and other bones of the skull.

Orbital fractures:

  • Fracture of the eye socket is known as an orbital fracture.

There are three types of orbital fractures, which include:

  • Orbital rim fracture: The fracture of the outer rim of the eye socket is known as orbital rim fracture. It is the thickest part of the eye socket and requires a lot of force to break the bone. It may be accompanied by damage to the optic nerve.
  • Direct orbital floor fracture: This is a type of rim fracture that extends into the lower socket.
  • Blowout fractures: A crack in the lower part of the eye socket is known as a blowout fracture. The muscles of the eye and other structures can get entrapped in the crack and prevent the normal movement of the eyeball.

Le Fort fractures:

  • The fractures in the mid-face area are known as Le Fort fractures.
  • The trauma due to a blunt force can cause fractures along the three lines of weaknesses in the mid-face area.
  • All types of Le Fort fractures involve the fracture of the pterygoid processes, which is a part of the sphenoid bone (a bone present behind the eye and below the front part of the brain).
  • The three main types of Le Fort fractures are:
  • Le Fort I: The fracture extends above the maxilla or upper jaw. 
  • Le Fort II: The fracture extends from the lower portion of a cheek, below the eye, across the nasal bridge, and to the lower portion of the other cheek.
  • Le Fort III: The fracture extends across the nasal bridge and the bones that surround the eyes.

Mandible fractures:

  • The fracture of the lower jaw, which holds the teeth and moves on talking and chewing, is called mandible fracture.
  • Fractures may involve the portion of the lower jaw that supports the teeth (the body of mandible), the portion where the jawbone curves upwards into the neck (the angle), the point where the right and left sides of the lower jaw join (the symphysis), or the knob shaped joint which is present at the top of the jaw bone (the condyle). ( Know more about- What is Bone Fracture? )
  • This fracture could cause loose or broken teeth.

What are the causes of Facial Fractures?

The causes of facial fractures include:

  • Trauma
  • Sports injuries
  • High-impact accidents, like car accidents
  • Falls
  • Accidents at the workplace
  • Fist-fight

What are the symptoms of Facial Fractures?

Symptoms like pain, bruising, and swelling are commonly seen with all types of facial fractures. The other symptoms associated with the different types of facial fractures include:

Nasal fractures:

  • Swelling 
  • Pain 
  • Nosebleeds
  • Bruising
  • Difficulty in breathing

Frontal bone fractures:

  • Inverted appearance of the forehead
  • Injury to the eyes
  • Pain around sinuses

Zygomaticomaxillary fractures:

  • Cheek flatness
  • Alteration in the sensations underneath the eye, on the side that is affected
  • Pain during jaw movements
  • Problems associated with eyesight

Orbital fractures:

  • Black eye
  • Blurred vision
  • Redness in the white part of the eye
  • Bleeding in the white part of the eye
  • Swelling in the forehead or cheek area
  • Numbness in the eyelids, forehead, upper lip, teeth, or cheek

Le Fort fractures:

  • Swelling 
  • Deformity on the face

Upper or lower jaw fractures:

  • Bruising along the jaw or below the ear
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Tenderness ( Know more about- What is a Slipped Disc? )
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Numbness in the chin or lower lip
  • Bruising under the tongue
  • Malocclusion (inability to bring the teeth together)

How to diagnose Facial Fractures?

Facial fractures can be diagnosed in the following ways:

  • In case of any life-threatening injuries, the doctor will start with the treatment immediately before any diagnostic examination. The doctor will check for any blockages in the airways or nasal passages, damage to the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), and assess the pupil size and reactions.
  • Physical examination: The doctor will examine you physically. The details of any trauma or injury are noted. The face will be checked for any signs of asymmetry, and damage to the motor functions (movements). The doctor will gently press (palpate) the bones of the face.
  • X-ray or CT scan: These are imaging tests done to view the broken bones, and the damaged blood vessels and tissues. A contrast liquid may be given to help in showing up the injured area better. ( Know more about- What is Arthritis and Home Remedies for Arthritis? )
  • Ultrasound: Sound waves are used to obtain clear images of the internal organs of the body in an ultrasound. This is done to check for damage to the tissues and facial bones.

What are the therapiesfor Facial Fractures?

If the fracture is minor and the broken bone stays in its normal position, the fracture is left to heal on its own. In case of a severe fracture, the following types of treatments are recommended:

  • Closed reduction: It is a procedure done for the movement of the broken bones back to their normal positions by hand. It is often done to fix a broken nose. The procedure is done without any incisions (cuts). ( Know more about- What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? )
  • Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF): It is a surgical procedure done by making an incision on the skin and stopping the bone from moving while healing. Screws, plates, or wires are used for joining the broken facial bones.
  • Medications: Medications may be prescribed for relieving symptoms like pain, swelling, or bacterial infection.
  • Endoscopy: An endoscope is used to look inside the eye socket and sinuses. It can also be removed to remove the pieces of broken bone using special medical tools. The doctor may place some devices to support the broken bones in the face.
  • Orthodontic treatment: This treatment is done to fix the damaged teeth. It may also be done if the teeth do not line up properly when you close the jaw.
  • Reconstructive surgery: This is a surgical procedure done to fix the damaged areas of the face. The pieces of the broken facial bones are removed and replaced with a graft. A graft is a healthy bone taken from a donor or another area of the patient’s own body.

What are the complications of Facial Fractures?

The complications of facial fractures may include:

  • Open wounds exposing the bone
  • Trouble in breathing
  • Trouble in swallowing food
  • Bloody discharge or clear fluid discharge from the nose
  • Blurred vision or double vision ( Know more about- What is the Craniotomy? )
  • Problems in moving the eyes
  • Displaced nose
  • Displaced jaw
  • Loose teeth
  • Extreme pain and swelling of the face
  • Pain on moving the jaw
  • Upper and lower jaw do not meet properly

Contact your doctor immediately if you notice any of the above symptoms following an injury.

How to prevent Facial Fractures?

There is no absolute way to prevent fractures. However, the following steps can be taken to reduce the possibility of facial fractures:

  • Wear a seat belt while driving
  • Wear a helmet while riding a two-wheeler
  • Wear protective gears like helmet, face mask, and bite guards while playing sports
  • Wear protective headgear at work, if required

What to care at home for Facial Fractures?

You can take care of yourself at home if you have a facial fracture in the following ways:

  • Ice application, as directed by the doctor
  • Keep your head in an elevated position to decrease the pain and swelling
  • Clean your mouth carefully to avoid any further pressure or injury to the fractured part, as directed by your doctor
  • Avoid sleeping on the injured side of the face, as the pressure can lead to further damage to the fractured areas
  • If you feel like sneezing, do so with your mouth open to decrease the pressure on the broken facial bones
  • Avoid blowing your nose, as it can lead to nerve damage near the eye causing permanent damage

What is the cost of Facial Fracture Treatments in India?

The total cost of facial fracture treatments in India can range from around INR 20,000 to INR 3,00,000, depending on the type of treatment done. However, many prominent hospital doctors in India specialize in facial fracture treatments. But the cost varies across different hospitals. 

If you are coming from abroad, apart from the cost of facial fracture treatments, there will be an additional cost of living in a hotel and the cost of local travel.  So, the total cost of facial fracture treatments in India comes from a total of INR 26,000 to INR 3,70,000. 

We hope that we could answer all your questions regarding facial fractures and their treatments through this article.

If you need more information about facial fractures, you can contact a Plastic, Aesthetic, and Reconstructive Surgeon

We only aim to provide you with information through this article. We do not recommend any medication or treatment to anyone. Only a qualified doctor can give you the best advice and correct treatment plan. 

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