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Facial trauma

Contents of this page:

Alternative Names   

Maxillofacial injury; Midface trauma; Facial injury; LeFort injuries

Definition    Return to top

Facial trauma is any injury of the face and upper jaw bone.

Causes    Return to top

Blunt or penetrating trauma can cause injury to the midface region, which includes the upper jaw (maxilla). Common causes of facial injury include:

Symptoms    Return to top

Exams and Tests    Return to top

The doctor will perform a physical exam, which may show:

The following may suggest bone fractures:

A CT scan of the head may be done.

Treatment    Return to top

Surgery is needed if the person cannot function normally or if there is significant deformity.

The goal of treatment is to:

Treatment should be immediate, as long as the person is stable and there are no neck fractures or life-threatening injuries.

Outlook (Prognosis)    Return to top

Patients generally do very well with proper treatment. The patient should gently be told that they will probably look different than they did before their injury, and that additional surgeries may be needed 6-12 months later.

Possible Complications    Return to top

General complications include, but are not limited to:

When to Contact a Medical Professional    Return to top

Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if you have a severe injury to your face.

Prevention    Return to top

Wear seat belts and use protective head gear when appropriate. Avoid triggering potentially violent confrontations with other people.

Update Date: 7/15/2008

Updated by: Alan Lipkin, MD, Otolargyngologist, private practice, Denver, CO. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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