Facial Trauma: All You Need To Know

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Published on 02/08/2020 . 5 mins read
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Aside from the psychological effects, facial trauma or facial injuries can have serious effects on a person’s health. As most cases of facial trauma occur due to accidents, it is recommended that you seek immediate medical attention to avoid facial trauma complications. Learn more about facial trauma, specifically its causes, symptoms, and possible treatment.

Types

What is Facial Trauma?

Facial trauma are injuries that directly affect the following:

  • Forehead
  • Eye socket
  • Nose
  • Cheek
  • Upper or lower jaws.

Injuries affecting the face can be extremely dangerous because of the complexity of the bones and the connective tissue that are responsible for the face’s shape. The face is also very close to where the brain is.

Injuries to the face can also affect the head. Head injuries are defined as trauma to the scalp, skull, or brain. 

Facial trauma or facial injuries can include the following:

  • Wounds on the skin of the face
  • Bruises on the skin of the face
  • Burns
  • Blockage of the nasal cavity or sinuses
  • Deformity of the nasal bone or nasal bone fracture
  • Injuries to the eye socket
  • Loss of teeth
  • Jawbone fractures
  • Temporal bone fracture, which houses the organs for hearing

Usually, when a person suffers from facial trauma they are also checked for any trauma to the head. Head trauma or injuries may include:

  • Scalp wounds
  • Fractures on the skull
  • Concussion

Facial Fractures

One of the biggest risks of facial trauma is acquiring a facial fracture. A facial fracture is a broken bone in the face.

This type of facial trauma can be dangerous or even life-threatening because it can

  • Damage the nerves that control movement in the face
  • Damage the nose which is responsible for breathing
  • Affect the jawbone that enables speaking, chewing, breathing, and swallowing

When an injury leads to a facial fracture, damage can be inflicted on the:

Nasal bone: Nasal bone fractures are the most common types of facial fractures because the bones located in this part of the face are thinner and more fragile.

Frontal bone (forehead): Trauma on the forehead usually causes fractures in the middle part of the bone, which is where it is at its weakest.

Cheekbone or upper jaw: The bones in the cheekbones and upper jaw are attached to one another which means fractures in the cheekbones may cause damage to the upper jaw bones as well.

Eye sockets: Fractures affecting the eye sockets can impair the function and movement of the eyes.

Mid-face: Fractures affecting mid-face also known as Le Fort fractures mostly affect the cheek, nose bridge, and eye area.

Lower jaw: Fractures that affect the lower jaw or mandible may cause broken or loose teeth. It may also cause difficulty in eating. 

Concussion

Another one of the possible facial trauma complications is a head injury called a concussion. A person usually gets concussed if they recently had an injury that involved a forceful blow to the head. Concussions primarily affect the function of the brain.

If a person has a concussion, they may experience the following symptoms: 

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision

A person with a concussion may also seem to be confused or forgetful. They may also have difficulty answering basic questions. However, symptoms are usually temporary and people who become concussed can fully recover within a few days.

Signs & Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of facial fractures include:

  • Bruising
  • Deviated septum or blockage in one or both of the nostrils
  • Hearing loss
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Crooked nose
  • Nosebleeds 
  • Difficulty in moving the eyes
  • Facial numbness
  • Patches of blood or discoloration in the white part of the eye
  • Trouble eating or speaking
  • Noticing pain when opening the mouth

Causes

Injuries affecting the face or the head are usually caused by:

  • Sports-related accidents
  • Falls
  • Fist-fights
  • Accidents that occur at home
  • Car or other vehicular accidents

In any case of emergency, immediately seek medical attention to avoid worsening facial trauma complications.

Treatment

Most injuries affecting the face or the head occur during accidents. If you or someone has been involved in an accident and is suffering from a serious face or head injury, it is best to immediately call emergency health services. It is also important to apply the proper first aid for the injuries.

First Aid for Facial Bleeding

  • Cover the wound with a piece of cloth.
  • Apply steady pressure on the area.
  • If the cloth gets soaked, do not remove the cloth. Continue to apply pressure and add more cloth. 

First Aid for Broken Tooth

  • Clean the area of the injury.
  • Apply ice to the area.
  • Save the piece of broken tooth so that the tooth can be repaired.

First Aid for Knocked-Out Teeth

  • Make sure to find and save the knocked-out tooth. Do not hold it by the root, instead hold it by the crown.
  • Rinse the knocked-out tooth with milk or a saline solution, do not rub.
  • Make sure the tooth does not dry out. Store it in a container filled with cold milk or saltwater. If both are not available, store it in your mouth in between the cheek and the tooth.

Be wary, however, as storing it inside the mouth may cause accidental ingestion of the tooth

First Aid for Nasal Fracture

  • If there is bleeding, apply pressure to the nose with a cloth or gauze.
  • Tilt the head down. Do not tilt the head upwards as the pooling of blood to the back of the nose may cause the patient to taste and swallow blood, leading to vomiting.
  • Apply ice.
  • Avoid blowing the nose.

First Aid for Injuries of the Neck and Head

  • Call emergency health services as soon as possible.
  • If a person injures their neck or head, avoid moving them without medical assistance.
  • Placed rolled shirts or towels on either side of the victim’s head to keep them from moving.
  • Keep the victim warm.
  • If the victim loses consciousness, make sure to clear the mouth of any possible blockages including the tongue.

First Aid for a Fractured Jaw

  • If possible, align the jaws carefully.
  • To prevent any movement that may cause more damage, tie a bandage around the jaw and over the head.
  • Apply ice to the affected area.

It is important to note that the first-aid procedures provided above are only temporary remedies. In the case of an accident, emergency health services must be contacted right away.

Key Takeaways

Facial trauma encompasses any injury affecting the forehead, eye socket, nose, cheek, and the upper or lower jaws. These can also put you at risk of head injuries that can lead to more serious facial trauma complications. 

In the case of an accident that has caused injury on your face or head, it is best to contact emergency health services immediately. 

Learn more about Ear, Nose, and Throat conditions here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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