Serious traumatic injuries caused by a blunt force can cause deformities on the face. The trauma can also be incredibly damaging. Moreover, most of these injuries can’t heal by itself and need reconstructive surgery to restore its appearance.
Surgeons that specialize in reconstructive surgery assess traumatic injuries in four main classifications:
Soft Tissue Injuries: These are injuries to the soft tissues which include facial skin lacerations and any intraoral injury.
Bony Injuries: These include the fractured bony parts of the face such as eye sockets, noses, palates, jaw bones, and cheek bones.
Avulsed (knocked-out) Teeth: The teeth are one of the most commonly affected areas of the face as they’re most likely broken, chipped, or knocked-out. Immediate action must be taken to such to assure the progress of reimplantation.
Special Regions: This classification comprises injury to the eyes, tear glands, the salivary glands, and the facial nerves.
Most of the traumatic facial injuries are caused by accidents and acts of violence. These unfortunate incidents have a profound impact on patients.
While these types of injuries have a slim chance of healing, most patients are physically and emotionally affected. Furthermore, patients may lose their confidence and self-esteem.
Failure to treat facial injuries or maxillofacial traumas can progress into long term problems:
The normal function of the areas affected will most likely be impaired if left untreated.
Loss of hearing, sight, and smell can occur in the long run if these affected areas if taken for granted. Serious injuries in the mouth and jaw areas can cause difficulty in speech, swallowing, and breathing.
By: Dr. Marc Kerner on Discovery Health
There’s a significant negative social and psychological effect on severe facial injuries. Some of them are:
Facial Trauma Reconstruction is more of a reconstructive surgery than just a cosmetic surgery. You should remember that any head and facial injury mustn’t be taken for granted. An immediate action must be taken to prevent long term damage, serious health issues or worse, death.
Here are the reasons why a facial trauma reconstructive surgery is done:
Most of these facial injuries can’t heal itself, that’s why a surgery must be performed. The plastic surgeon will assess the extent of the injury. He or she will then decide the preferable reconstructive surgical procedure for the patient. Aside from aesthetic purposes, the restoration of the normal function of the face and the reconstruction of the appearance of the face are the important reasons for doing this type of surgery.
You can be qualified for a facial trauma reconstruction surgery if you have a good overall health. Also, you must also set realistic expectations about the surgery. Moreover, being optimistic is another important attitude to possess when deciding to under the surgery.
The cost of a facial trauma reconstruction surgery varies on several factors. It may be the method used and the number of sessions required. Other factors include the surgeon’s fee, geographic location of the facility, equipment used, and medications.
However, it’s a type of reconstructive surgery. So in most cases, your insurance company will cover the cost of your facial trauma reconstruction surgery. You can inquire your insurance provider to check the coverage of your insurance plan.
Facial trauma reconstruction surgery can be an invasive procedure. It requires that a surgeon must possess special skills and broad experience. You need to find a doctor that knows well about the surgery. It’s for your own good, and that matters more than the total cost of the surgery.
Facial trauma reconstruction surgery is usually done in a hospital setting. It’ll be discussed with you by your surgeon when you have fully made your decision.
Also, make sure you have someone to assist and drive you to the hospital. Depending on the extent and complexity of the procedure, you may also be advised for a hospital stay.
During the initial consultation, your chosen surgeon makes an initial assessment of your injury. He or she will then discuss with you about your medical history, current medications, lifestyle, risks, complications, and expected goals. Make sure to ask your doctor if you have any concerns. It’s better to open up with him or her for your safety and convenience. You may also undergo a medical and laboratory examination so that the surgeon will know your overall health condition before the surgery.
The best time to undergo a facial trauma reconstruction surgery is within the first ten days after an injury.
Most of the time, you’ll be required to do an X-ray or a CT scan for the plastic surgeon to know the extent of the injury.
Your surgeon will make a surgical treatment plan. This plan will depend on the location and type of facial injury.
Soft tissue injuries like facial lacerations are often repaired with sutures but must be done aesthetically.
A flap reconstruction may be performed if a larger area of skin is missing. This procedure involves grafting a skin from a preferred donor site and transplanting it to the treatment area.
Facial bone injuries are treated are treated like any other fractured bone. And instead of a cast, a combination of wiring, screwing, or plating techniques may be used to put the bone in place. Synthetic materials or bone grafts may also be needed to fill in a missing bone.
Injuries to the teeth area can be treated with a variety of wiring or bonding methods. And if a tooth has been knocked out, reimplantation may be taken into consideration.
The time necessary for the procedure to finish depends on the extent and complexity of the injury. It may from minutes to several hours. There may be plates, screws, or wires placed on the surgical site to keep the structures in place. It’ll also help in its healing process.
Recovery to a facial trauma reconstruction surgery will depend on its extent and complexity. After surgery, you’ll feel pain, swelling, and bruising at the surgical site. It may also take several weeks to recover completely. However, your surgeon will give you specific instructions. He or she will prescribe you with pain medication to ease your discomfort. You won’t be allowed to do strenuous activities as it may affect the healing process. Failure to follow the doctor’s instructions may lead to possible risks and complications.
All surgeries can’t be 100% guaranteed. They may have risks of complications. These will all be thoroughly discussed during the initial consultation. You mustn’t hesitate to ask your doctor anything that you need to know about the surgery. Then, you’ll be required to sign consent forms to confirm that you fully understand everything being discussed with you.
Some risks associated with facial trauma reconstruction surgery may include excessive bleeding, infection, or undesirable aesthetic result.