Facial Fracture In Children

What is a facial fracture?

A facial fracture is a break in one or more of the bones in your child's face. The facial bones include the cheekbones and the bones around the eyes, nose, and mouth. A facial fracture may also cause damage to nearby tissue, such as the eyes, nose, mouth, nerves, or blood vessels.


What causes a facial fracture?

A facial fracture may occur when your child falls from a great height and lands on his head or face first. Facial fractures may also be caused by injuries that occur during a motor vehicle accident or contact sports, such as football.

What are the signs and symptoms of a facial fracture?

Signs and symptoms depend on what part of your child's face is injured. Your child may have any of the following:

  • Pain and swelling in his face

  • Bruising on his face or around his eyes

  • Tingling or numbness in his face

  • Misshapen face

  • Headache

  • Vision problems, such as double vision or decreased eye movement

How is a facial fracture diagnosed?

X-rays, a CT scan, or MRI of your child's face and head may be taken. Your child may be given a dye before the pictures are taken to help healthcare providers see the pictures better. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. He should not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has any metal in or on his body.

How is a facial fracture treated?

Your child's treatment will depend on the damage and the type of fracture. Your child may need any of the following:

  • Acetaminophen decreases pain. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much your child should take and how often he should take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.

  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's doctor.

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask how to give this medicine to your child safely.

  • Antibiotics may be given to help treat or prevent a bacterial infection if the bone broke through your child's skin.

  • Surgery may be needed to return your child's bones to their normal position if the fracture is severe. Pins, plates, and screws may be used to hold broken bones together. Surgery may also be needed to correct a deformity or fix damaged tissues, such as the eyes, nose, mouth, nerves, or blood vessels.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • Your child has a fever.

  • Your child has a headache that is getting worse, even after he takes pain medicine.

  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • Your child becomes confused or more fussy, restless, or sleepy than usual.

  • Your child has blood or clear fluid coming from his nose or ears.

  • Your child has seizures or is vomiting.

  • Your child has trouble breathing.

  • Your child has trouble hearing or speaking.

  • Your child has blurred or double vision.

  • Your child's pupil looks larger in one eye.

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. 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.

© 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.

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