Facial fracture reconstruction can be required to fix broken bones about the face, such as a broken nose, a broken jaw or cheekbone, or even a broken “eye socket”, something referred to as a “blow out” fracture. This usually involves mobilizing the fractured bones through discreet incisions placed inside the mouth, nose, eyelid, or even in the hairline in order to “stabilize” the fracture, usually with thin titanium plates and screws. In some cases, 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, usually in the first two weeks after the injury.
Who needs reconstructive surgery for facial fractures?
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 require reconstruction for a facial fracture. 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 (known as the bony orbit).
Overview of Facial Fracture Reconstruction
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 incisions are made in concealed areas such as inside the mouth and inside the lower eyelid 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 nasal or nasal-septal fracture reduction (i.e. a “broken nose”), 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 and metal plates are sometimes required to hold the jaw bones in place so that you maintain a proper bite. Without a proper 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.
Recovery After Facial Fracture Reconstruction
Nasal fractures are the most common facial fracture. A small molded splint is placed on the outside of the nose for about two weeks, after which you can wear makeup. Most patients are able to return to work after the first week depending on their job duties. Some swelling and bruising may remain for the next few weeks after which is will not seem noticeable. Most patients require pain medication for the first week or so after surgery, but nothing more after that. For other more complex facial fractures, the recovery period will vary greatly depending upon the extent of your surgery. Dr. Boynton 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 Dr. Boynton 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 Dr. Boynton 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, with every attempt to return each patient to their former self.
Facial fracture repairs are generally very safe, but Dr. Boynton will discuss any risks with you. These risks vary depending upon the area of the face that is affected.
Schedule a Consultation for Facial Fracture Reconstruction
Please contact Dr. James F. Boynton to schedule a consultation for facial fracture reconstruction. Our plastic surgeon and reconstructive surgeon can answer all of your questions and discuss all aspects of the procedure.
Boynton Plastic Surgery1900 St. James Place Suite 200 Houston, TX 77056
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