The parts of the body that are most vulnerable to trauma are the chin and face. Injuries to the jaw and face can easily occur due to reasons such as assault, traffic accident, fall or impact. These injuries sometimes occur only in soft tissues, and sometimes they can be in the form of fractures or cracks in the bones. Sometimes, surgical interventions are required to treat injuries.

The following bone structures are present in the facial region from top to bottom:

  • Frontal bone (Forehead bone)
  • Orbita (Eyeball bones)
  • Zygoma and arch (Cheekbone and its extension)
  • Maxilla (Upper jawbone)
  • Mandible (Lower jawbone)

Of course, fractures in each of these bones should be treated with different surgical interventions. The sooner the broken bones are treated after trauma, the better. Fractures must be examined and evaluated with appropriate imaging methods. Afterwards, the procedure to be followed in surgery for fracture repair is determined, and therefore the treatment is planned according to the patient.

Computed tomography method, shortly called CT, is used for bone fractures in the facial region. With CT, the status of fractures can be handled more clearly. Sometimes, imaging methods with panoramic film may also be needed, especially when there are problems with the lower jaw. It is important to perform surgical intervention as soon as possible in cases where the fracture is displaced.

What Can Facial Bone Fractures Cause?

Fractures in the facial bones require surgical repair, and the presence of the fracture is already a sufficient factor for the decision of surgery. At the same time, fractures in these bones can cause different problems. It can cause facial deformities, limitations in eye movements, and these bone fractures can also damage soft tissues and muscles. Problems that may arise depending on which bone or bones the fracture is located, the size of the fracture and which tissues and organs are affected by it also vary.

Some facial bone fractures can lead to loss of function in the jaw. It may cause a decrease or deterioration in speech functions. The fact that it can even cause respiratory problems in some patients reveals the importance of facial bone fractures more clearly. If the fractures in these bones are not repaired, they may heal spontaneously over time. However, it can be observed that the mentioned problems, which are experienced due to faulty boiling, become permanent. For this reason, it is necessary to perform reconstructive aesthetic operations before spontaneous union of the bones begins.

What Is Facial Fracture Surgery?

Fractures may occur in the lower and upper jawbone, nose and cheekbones or orbital bones due to accidents, blows to the face area and traumas. Sometimes bone fractures occur in only one region of ​​the face. However, sometimes more than one fracture may occur in the face. Surgical interventions performed to repair these fractures and restore the necessary shape for proper union are called ‘facial fracture surgery’.

The doctor decides when the surgery should be performed, taking the patient’s condition into account. The priority is the fulfillment of the patient’s vital functions. Especially in cases such as trauma, a problem that requires urgent treatment in the head, rib cage or abdomen, it is aimed to eliminate these problems first. Afterwards, surgical intervention is planned for the repair of facial bones.

How to Fix Facial Bone Fractures?

It should not be expected that every intervention applied in surgeries will be the same as bone fractures and traumas have their own characteristics. Accordingly, surgical procedures are also determined completely specific to the patient. The main purpose of the surgery is to improve the aesthetic appearance of the patient and at the same time to eliminate the problem caused by the fracture in the physical sense. Fixing some functional declines caused by fractures in the facial bones is also among the surgical goals. Sometimes, more than one technique can be used in a single operation, considering the needs of the patient.

During the surgical intervention, the fracture lines are placed in the right place and fixed at there. In this way, faulty bone unions are prevented. In the operation, titanium plates and screw systems can be used to place and fix the bones in the right place. Of course, these materials used may vary depending on the location of the bone fracture. Some types of screws remain on the face for a certain period of time and are then removed. Others need to stay for life. In some bone fractures, bone loss may also occur. In such cases, the problem arising from bone loss is eliminated with bones taken from a different part of the body.

The Causes and the Treatment of Facial Bone Fractures

We can briefly list which common facial bone fractures are and how they are treated:

  • Frontal Bone Fractures

Trauma is a common cause of forehead bone fractures. These fractures, which often bring additional medical problems, can take many different forms. In the case of fractures involving only the outer layer of the forehead bone, the bone can be corrected by entering through the scalp. It may also be necessary to intervene with titanium plate screws. If there are segmental fractures in the inner layer of the bone, surgery should be performed together with neurosurgery.

  • Orbital Fractures

Ocular changes can also occur in orbital fractures. Various vision problems such as double vision and limited gaze may be experienced. This operation is usually performed with the procedure of reaching the bone through incisions made through the eyelids. If there is bone loss, repair is provided with bone graft or medpor materials.

  • Zygoma Fractures

Cheekbone fractures are divided into two. The first of these is the fracture of the main body of the bone and the other is the fracture of the bone extending towards the front of the ear. In the surgery, the bone is reached through the eyelid or the mouth and the necessary intervention is made. However, sometimes it is possible to solve the problem with a simpler intervention, and in this case, it is possible to perform the surgery by applying a 2 cm incision through the scalp.

  • Maxilla Fractures

Upper jaw fractures are divided into three. These are called LeFort 1, 2 and 3. During the surgery, the surgical incision is made through the mouth and the bone can be fixed with titanium plate screws. In this surgery, it is also aimed to close the jaw correctly, and therefore, it may be necessary to connect the lower and upper jaws for a while with medical materials.

  • Mandible Fractures

Depending on the region of the fracture, the procedures applied in the surgery may vary. Repair of fractures occurring in regions close to the jaw joint requires a more difficult process. In the case of fractures that are not close to the jaw joint, incisions made through the mouth to provide the correct location and fixation of the broken segments. After this operation, it may be necessary to connect the lower and upper jaws with elastic bands. Bands should last about 2 or 3 weeks. Thus, it is aimed to experience the healing process with the correct closing of the jaw.

Recovery time for facial bone fractures is highly variable. Recovery time may differ depending on which bone has a fracture and what kind of surgical intervention is done. You can write your questions about facial bone fractures in the comment section.