Facial Fracture In Children

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

  • A facial fracture occurs when one or more of your child's bones in the face are broken. This is caused by an injury or trauma to the head or face when a child falls from a height. A direct blow during a fight, physical abuse, or a car accident may also cause a facial fracture. Common signs and symptoms may include a bump, cut, bruise, swelling, or deformity on his face. Your child may vomit (throw up), pass out, have a headache, or feel numb or tingling on his face.

  • An x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computerized tomography (CT) scan may be used for diagnosis. Treatment may include medicines for the relief of symptoms or surgery if the fracture is bad. Most facial fractures heal faster in children than in adults. The younger your child is, the faster the fracture will heal without further problems. With proper treatment, care, and follow-up, your child has a greater chance of having a full recovery.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.

RISKS:

Treatment for a facial fracture may cause unpleasant side effects. Medicines may cause your child to have nausea (upset stomach) or vomiting (throwing up). He may bleed or get an infection if he has surgery. If left untreated, the fracture may not heal the right way and get worse. A facial injury may also cause bleeding, deformity, or infection. If not treated right away, permanent injuries, such as nerve damage or paralysis, may develop. Early diagnosis and treatment of facial fracture is very important. Call your child's caregiver if you have concerns about his fracture, medicines, or care.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.

Activity:

At first your child may need to rest in bed. Your child's caregiver will tell you when it is OK to get him out of bed. Call your child's caregiver before getting him up for the first time. If he ever feels weak or dizzy, have him sit or lie down right away.

Blood tests:

Your child may need blood tests to give caregivers information about how his body is working. The blood may be taken from your child's arm, hand, finger, foot, heel, or IV.

Emotional support:

Stay with your child for comfort and support as often as possible while he is in the hospital. Ask another family member or someone close to the family to stay with your child when you cannot be there. Bring items from home that will comfort your child, such as a favorite blanket or toy.

Ice:

An ice pack may be applied to your child's skin on top of the swollen part to decrease swelling, pain, and redness. An ice pack is made of crushed or cubed ice in a plastic bag. Some water is mixed in a bag with the ice to more evenly distribute the cold. Wrap the bag in a towel. Do not leave the ice pack on the skin for a long time to avoid skin damage.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your child's vein that is used to give him medicine or liquids.

Medicines:

Your child may need one or more of the following:

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help prevent or treat an infection caused by bacteria.

  • Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your child's stomach and control vomiting (throwing up).

  • Tetanus shot: This is medicine to keep your child from getting tetanus. It is given as a shot. Your child should have a tetanus shot if he has not had one in the past 5 to 10 years. Your child's arm can get red, swollen, and sore after getting this shot.

  • Pain medicine: Your child may need medicine to take away or decrease pain. Know how often your child should get the medicine and how much. Watch for signs of pain in your child. Tell caregivers if his pain continues or gets worse. To prevent falls, stay with your child to help him get out of bed.

Mouth care:

You may need to help clean your child's mouth 4 to 6 times a day. Cleaning your child's mouth will remove pieces of food and clean his teeth. A water pik or a small soft toothbrush will work well to clean your child's mouth. Ask your caregiver for information about proper mouth care.

Neurologic signs:

These are also called neuro signs, neuro checks, or neuro status. During a neuro check, caregivers see how your child's pupils react to light. They may check his memory and how easily he wakes up. His hand grasp and balance may also be tested. How your child responds to the neuro checks can tell caregivers if his illness or injury has affected his brain.

Oxygen:

Your child may need oxygen if his blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. Oxygen will help your child breathe easier. Your child may get oxygen through small tubes placed in his nostrils, or through a mask. He may instead be placed in an oxygen tent. Never take off your child's oxygen tubes or mask or remove him from the tent without asking his caregiver first.

Tests:

Your child may need one or more of the following:

  • Computerized tomography scan: This is also called a CT or CAT scan. A special x-ray machine uses a computer to take pictures of your child's face and head. It may be used to look at your child's bones, muscles and brain. Your child may be given a dye before the pictures are taken. The dye may help your child's caregiver see the pictures better. People who are allergic to iodine or shellfish (lobster, crab, or shrimp) may be allergic to some dyes. Tell your child's caregiver if he is allergic to shellfish, or has other allergies or medical conditions.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging scan: This test is also called an MRI. An MRI uses magnetic waves to take pictures of your child's face and head. During an MRI, pictures are taken of his bones, brain, or blood vessels. He will need to lie still during an MRI. Never enter the MRI room with an oxygen tank, watch, or any other metal objects. This may cause serious injury.

  • X-rays: Your child may need to have x-rays of his face and head taken to check for broken bones or other problems.

Treatment options:

Your child may need one or more of the following:

  • Device: Your child may need to wear a brace to keep his neck from moving. This may prevent more problems if his spine is injured. Bandages, wires, or splints may also be used to support your child's facial bones.

  • Irrigation and debridement: This is done when the facial fracture also has an open wound. This cleans and removes objects, dirt, or dead tissues from the fracture area.

  • Surgery: Your child may need surgery to return the bones to their normal position if the fracture is bad. Surgery may also be needed to correct a deformity or fix damaged tissues on the face. Pins, plates and screws may be used to hold broken bones together. Damage to the eyes, nose, mouth, nerves, or blood vessel may also be treated with surgery.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Facial Fracture In Children (Inpatient Care)

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