Certain injuries, even if not life-threatening, can be relatively disturbing. Whether it is due to a natural protectiveness of the eyes, to the cosmetic effects of facial disfigurement, or another reason, many people are more disturbed by the thought of a facial injury than by the thought of another injury of similar severity elsewhere on the body. For those who have suffered a facial fracture, it is important to allow for sufficient healing time or the area could be re-injured.
Assessing a facial fracture
Facial fractures are broken bones of the face or the mouth. Common facial fractures are:
- Nasal (nose)
- Orbital (eye)
- Maxillary or mandibular (upper or lower jaw)
- Zygomatic (cheekbone)
- Frontal (forehead)
It is important to be examined if you have any of these injuries because there could also be head or neck injuries that have gone undetected. Antibiotics may also be necessary if there is a chance the fracture could lead to an infection.
Healing time for facial fractures
The length of time it takes for a facial fracture to heal depends on the type and severity of the injury. In general, however, patients are often instructed to wait 6-8 weeks before engaging in physical activities that could cause further facial injuries.
Facial bruising and swelling may be cleared up in only 2-3 weeks. Nerve damage affecting physical sensation may take weeks or months to heal, and in some cases it may only partial heal or there may even be no recovery at all. Early evaluation and treatment can help prevent complications.
Complications can delay facial fracture healing
In some cases, a fracture will need to be set in order to heal properly, also referred to as “reduction”. This is understandably a bit complicated and it can done without surgery (a closed reduction) or in more complicated cases, require surgery (an open reduction) and the use of plates, screws, or other devices to keep the repair in place.
In any case, but especially in cases with complex fractures, there can be complications. When titanium plates or screws are used to set the break, they are meant to be permanently implanted. However, the devices may become infected or unbearably uncomfortable and require a revision surgery to remove or replace. While titanium parts are in place, they could also prevent the patient from having a CT scan or MRI.
Recovering for facial fractures after an accident in Southern California
There are rare cases of facial fractures due to non-traumatic causes, but most facial fractures are due to accidents or violence. In addition to the distress caused by facial disfigurement, patients often need to worry about medical bills, lost wages, and other financial and emotional losses.
California law recognizes the right of those injured by someone else’s negligence to receive the financial compensation necessary to be made whole. If you have been injured due to someone else’s careless or intentional act, speak with a facial fracture attorney in Los Angeles at Salamati Law.
Additional facial fracture resources:
- Cambridge University Hospitals, Facial fractures, https://www.cuh.nhs.uk/addenbrookes-hospital/services/oral-and-maxillofacial-surgery-and-orthodontics/facial-fractures
- Cleveland Clinic, Facial Fractures, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/facial-fractures