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Facial Fracture

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

A facial fracture is a break in one or more of the bones in your face. The bones in your face include those around your eye, your cheekbones, and the bones of your nose and jaw. A facial fracture may also cause damage to nearby tissue.


WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you 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 medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

You may need extra oxygen

if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.

Neurological signs:

Neurologic signs are also called neuro signs, neuro checks, or neuro status. Healthcare providers check your eyes, your memory, and how easily you wake up. Your hand grasp and balance may also be tested. This helps tell healthcare providers how your brain is working after an injury. You may need to have your neuro signs checked often. Your healthcare provider may even wake you up to check your neuro signs.

Medicines:

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Decongestant medicine: Decongestants help decrease swelling in your nose and sinuses. This medicine may also help you breathe easier.
  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
  • Steroids: This medicine may be given to decrease inflammation.
  • Tetanus shot: If you have an open wound from your injury, you may need a tetanus shot. Tetanus bacteria can enter your body through a wound and make you very sick. A tetanus shot is medicine to help prevent you from getting the bacteria. You should have a tetanus shot if you have not had one in the past 5 to 10 years. Your arm may become red, swollen, and sore after you get this shot.

Tests:

  • Eye exam: An eye exam may be done to check your eyesight. This may also be done to check the nerves and tissue of your eyes for damage.
  • CT scan: This test is also called a CAT scan. An x-ray machine uses a computer to take pictures of your head. This test may be done after surgery to check if your broken bones are in the proper position. You may be given a dye before the pictures are taken to help healthcare providers see the pictures better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.
  • MRI: This scan uses powerful magnets and a computer to take pictures of your head. This test may help your healthcare provider see if your broken bones were put in the proper position. You may be given dye to help the pictures show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.

Treatments:

Cold packs may be placed on your face to prevent further swelling. If you have a broken nose, direct pressure may help stop any bleeding. A nasal packing placed inside your nose may also help prevent further bleeding. You may also need any of the following:

  • Closed reduction: During this procedure, your healthcare provider moves your broken bones back to their normal position. Closed reduction is often done when you have a broken nose. You will not need an incision for this procedure. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about closed reduction.
  • Endoscopy: This test uses a scope to look inside your sinuses and eye socket. The scope is a long tube with a lens and light on the end. The scope is placed between your upper gums and lip and into the sinus behind your cheekbone. The scope may also be put through a small incision in your scalp and into the sinus behind your forehead. During an endoscopy, small pieces of your broken bone may be removed. Special devices may be used to support the broken bones in your face.
  • Surgery:
    • Open reduction and internal fixation: This surgery is also called ORIF. During an ORIF, your healthcare provider makes an incision over your fracture site. Wires, screws, or plates are used to join your broken facial bones together. This surgery helps keep the bones from moving while they heal.
    • Reconstructive surgery: Reconstructive surgery may be needed to fix areas of your face that are misshapen by your injury. Your healthcare provider may need to remove pieces of your broken facial bones and replace them with a graft. A graft is healthy bone taken from another area of your body or from a donor (another person).

Nutrition:

You may not be able to eat solid food for a period of time. You may first be started on a liquid diet. Examples of liquids you may be able to have include, water, broth, gelatin, apple juice, or lemon-lime soda pop. After a few days, you may be allowed to eat soft foods, such as applesauce, bananas, cooked cereal, cottage cheese, pudding, and yogurt. Ask for more information about the type of foods you can eat.

RISKS:

  • Treatments may lead to swelling, pain, bruising, bleeding, and infection. You may have scarring and hair loss from surgery. Treatment may damage nearby tissue and nerves, causing numbness. Surgery may also damage your sinuses (spaces within the bones around your nose) and cause them to swell. Even with surgery, you may have uneven facial features, bulging eyes, vision changes, and permanent blindness. Bone and tissue grafts may move out of place and require another surgery. Plates and screws used to fix your bones may become infected or need to be replaced. You may get a blood clot in your leg or arm. The clot may travel to your heart or brain and cause life-threatening problems, such as a heart attack or stroke.
  • Without treatment, your facial fracture may lead to uneven facial features, facial pain, eye pain, or blindness. You may have bleeding that blocks your airway, making it hard to breathe. You may have bleeding in your brain, which can lead to seizures and be life-threatening.

CARE AGREEMENT:

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

© 2016 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.

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