When an injury or accident causes facial trauma, plastic surgery can help restore your facial function and appearance. The surgical approaches and techniques vary depending on the location and severity of the injury. From simple wound closure to skin grafts, flaps, and bony fracture repair, Drs. J. David Kriet and Clinton D. Humphrey can use their expertise to repair facial trauma. Our facial plastic surgeons have devoted much of their careers to helping people overcome traumatic injuries to the face. They focus on the restoration of function and appearance to the pre-injury state.
What are Common Types of Facial Trauma?
Facial trauma may occur in many ways and may damage the soft tissue, underlying bone, or nerves of the face and jaw. Because of the sensitive nature of facial injuries and their ability to impart a high degree of physical and emotional distress, early evaluation and prompt treatment of facial trauma is essential to achieving the best possible outcome. In general, facial trauma reconstruction can be used to address:
- Facial lacerations: Soft tissue injuries marked by cuts, tears, or breaks in the skin, subcutaneous tissue, or underlying muscle. Facial lacerations are typically the result of extreme pressure or blunt force impact.
- Fractured facial bones: Facial fractures can occur within the nasal structure, eye (orbital) sockets, or cheekbones. Due to the thin and delicate nature of the bones and cartilage in the nose, nasal fractures are the most common type of facial fracture. Factors that can determine the appropriate treatment for broken facial bones include your age, health, and the severity and location of the fracture.
- Fractured upper and/or lower jaw: Fractures in the upper and lower jaw may require surgery to properly realign the jaw and restore normal biting and chewing function.
- Injuries of the facial nerves: Injuries resulting in weakness or paralysis of the face should be urgently evaluated. Many new techniques are available to help restore facial movement.
A CT scan is usually necessary to properly assess the extent of your injury and determine the requisite steps to restore function and achieve an optimal aesthetic result. With extensive experience in facial reconstruction, Drs. Kriet and Humphrey are committed to treating injuries of the face with diligence and precision.
How is Facial Trauma Treated?
Soft Tissue Injuries
Based on the severity of your injury, facial lacerations can generally be treated with stitches and suturing. In addition to addressing obvious breaks in the skin, great care must be taken to comprehensively treat the underlying facial structures, such as the salivary glands, ducts, and facial nerves. For individuals who are concerned with facial scarring, our reconstructive surgeons offer scar revision surgery to minimize the visibility of unsightly scars.
Much like bone injuries in the extremities, facial fractures require stabilization in order to promote proper healing. One method of stabilization involves a technique called rigid fixation, wherein small plates and screws are surgically placed to prevent motion within the facial structure. Some jaw fractures may require the upper and lower jaws to be temporarily wired shut in order to heal the fracture or reposition displaced bones.
Because of the nose’s central positioning on the face, nasal fractures are the most commonly suffered facial fracture. Not only can trauma to the nose alter an individual’s appearance, but these injuries may also lead to impaired breathing, loss of smell, a deviated septum, or other functional complications. Some nasal fractures can be treated in the first 7-10 days after injury with a closed nasal reduction. Nasal fractures that are complex or have already healed may require nasal reconstruction or rhinoplasty to improve the nose’s function and appearance.
To schedule a consultation for facial trauma repair and reconstruction, please contact our Kansas City plastic surgery practice.