Facial Fractures

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What are facial fractures?

Facial fractures are fractures (broken bones) of the face and mouth. They commonly include fractures of the nose (nasal), cheekbones (zygoma), surrounds to the eyes (orbit) and upper (maxilla) and lower (mandible) jaws.

If you have a facial fracture, the oral and maxillofacial team will usually want to check that you don’t have other fractures of or injuries to the head or neck and if you have been knocked unconscious.

Most facial fractures are acute (sudden) and caused by assaults (eg fighting), sports (eg horse riding, football and rugby) and accidents (eg road traffic or falls). Rarely, you might get a fracture following other treatment – sometimes this is because the bones are weakened by conditions such as dental cysts.

The treatment options that you will be offered will depend on the type and extent of the fracture and any other problems you might have at the time.

In general, doctors will want to bring the broken bones back into a normal alignment (called ‘reducing’ the fracture) and keep it/them in this place (called ‘fixing the fracture’), preventing further injury. Sometimes they will need to operate to do this. Sometimes they will need to use plates, screws or wires (or other fixation) inside or occasionally outside the bones to hold the fractures in place.

Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will explain more about your fracture(s) and its treatment.

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