Maxillofacial Trauma refers to any injury to the face or jaw caused by physical force or foreign objects. It includes injuries to any of the bony or fleshy structures of the face.
Any part of the face may be affected. Teeth may be knocked out or loosened. Bones of the face commonly involved are the lower jaw bone, the upper jaw bone and the cheek bone. The eyes and their muscles, nerves and blood vessels may be injured as well as the eye socket (orbit), which can be fractured by a forceful blow. A fractured nose or jaw may affect the ability to breathe or eat. Any Maxillofacial Trauma may also prevent the passage of air or be severe enough to cause a concussion or more serious brain injury.
With any Maxillofacial Trauma a referral is necessary to see a specialist who will manage these serious injuries promptly. These injuries require thorough investigation which usually involves special x-rays or CT scans.
Some fractures require immediate treatment whilst with others we wait until the swelling and bruising has subsided prior to operation.
Most operations involve the use of titanium plates and screws to fix the fractured bones together. It is extremely rare these days to even consider the very old fashioned technique of “wiring the jaws together”.
Facial fracture treatment will usually require a hospital stay of a day or two.