Facial Trauma
Symptoms are specific to the type of injury; for example,
fractures may involve pain, swelling, loss of function, or
changes in the shape of facial structures.

Facial injuries have the potential to cause facial
disfigurement and loss of function; for example, blindness
or difficulty moving the jaw can result. Although it is seldom
life-threatening, facial trauma has the potential to be fatal
as it can cause severe bleeding or interference with the
airway; thus a primary concern in treatment is ensuring that
the airway is kept open and not threatened so that the
patient can breathe.

Depending on the type of facial injury, treatment may
include sewing up (
suturing) of open wounds,
administration of ice (to reduce swelling and bruising),
antibiotics and pain killers, moving bones back into their
correct position (
manipulation) and surgery (reduction and

Where facial fractures are suspected, X-rays & CT scans
are used for and to aid diagnosis.

Treatment may also be necessary for other injuries such as
traumatic brain injury which commonly accompany facial

In developed countries, the leading cause of facial trauma
inter-personal violence; car accidents predominate as
the main cause in developing countries and are still a major
cause elsewhere.  Other causes of facial trauma include
falls, industrial accidents and sports injuries.


Facial fractures are distributed in a fairly 'normal' curve by
age, with a peak incidence occurring between ages 20 and
40 and children under 12 suffering only 5 – 10% of all facial

Most facial trauma in children involves
lacerations and soft
tissue injuries

There are several reasons for the lower incidence of facial
fractures in children:

  • the face is smaller in relation to the rest of the head
  • children are less often in those situations associated
    with facial fractures such as occupational and motor
    vehicle hazards
  • the bone is differently proportioned in children making
    them more resistant to fracture
  • poorly developed sinuses make the bones stronger,
  • fat pads provide protection for the facial bones.

Useful Articles:

Dental Update 2006.  Common Facial Fractures. 1.
Aetiology and Presentation

Dental Update 2006.  Common Facial Fractures. 2.

Dental Update 2006.  Common Facial Fractures. 3.
Last Updated 14th June 2011
Facial trauma (Maxillo-facial trauma) is any physical
trauma to the face.  
Facial trauma can involve soft tissue
injuries such as burns,
lacerations (cuts) and bruises or
fractures (breaks) of the facial bones such as nasal
and fractures of the jaw, as well as trauma such
as eye injuries.
Pan Oro-Facial Trauma
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