Also Serving Facial Trauma Patients in Everett & Bellingham
At Cascade Facial Surgery, Dr. Jonathan Grant provides reconstructive surgery after pediatric or adult facial trauma. He evaluates scars, as well as bone and soft tissue injuries, and he strives to restore both function and appearance. He works closely with hospitals and has privileges at a number of community hospitals in the Western Washington area.
Dr. Grant treats every patient as a unique individual. Your surgical plan is designed specifically to provide you with the best possible result within the parameters of sound and safe medical practices. His training and experience as a reconstructive facial surgeon allows him to provide you with excellent cosmetic and functional restoration after an injury.
Who is a Candidate for Pediatric and Adult Facial Trauma Treatment?
Candidates for facial trauma reconstruction include those who have experienced the following injuries, just to name a few:
- A broken nose or other injury to the nose
- Deep cuts or incisions resulting in unsightly scars; these scars may be new or old
- Soft tissue injuries that have impaired function or appearance
- Fractures that have resulted in impaired function or appearance
Understanding the Facial Trauma Reconstruction Procedure
Dr. Grant will examine you during your consultation and discuss what he can do to improve function and aesthetics for you. Then, he can devise an optimal surgical plan.
The procedure required for facial trauma depends entirely on the injury and its severity. If your nose has been broken, the break in the bone needs to be reduced within a few days to weeks after injury. At a later date, rhinoplasty can be done to restore a more normal look to the nose if needed. If the injury has also resulted in impaired breathing, Dr. Grant can perform simultaneous nasal surgery for breathing problems along with your rhinoplasty.
In some cases, steroid injections may be all that are required, or they may be done in conjunction with surgery. For deep cuts or other soft tissue injuries, skin and soft tissue grafts may be necessary. If this is the case, Dr. Grant will advise you prior to your surgery of the area he intends to use for harvesting skin or soft tissue.
As a plastic surgeon trained in reconstruction techniques, Dr. Grant is skilled at minimizing scarring and improving the appearance of injury and post-surgical scars as much as possible. Part of the work he performs is improving the appearance of scars from prior surgeries.
Recovering From Facial Trauma Reconstruction
Recovery will depend upon your injury and its severity. We will provide you with full post-operative instructions, including how long you must take off from work and when you can exercise safely again.
After all surgeries, there is some pain, tightness, and swelling. Some patients also experience mild bruising and numbness. These symptoms are to be expected.
You can take pain medication to ease your discomfort as you heal. Sleeping upright or on your back with your head elevated for a couple of weeks will help to keep swelling to a minimum. We will give you instructions for showering, washing your hair, and using hair products/appliances.
Note that swelling and numbness are the last symptoms to resolve. It will take a few weeks and possibly months for you to see the final results of your surgery. Your scars will evolve and mature for a full year from the time of your surgery.
Facial Trauma FAQs
What are the signs of facial fracture?
Often it will be obvious that your face has been seriously fractured by a traumatic event, such as a car accident, fall or an external impact. Other times the symptoms will be subtle. Your first clue that facial bones have been damaged may be pain, swelling, bruising and sensitivity at the site of the injury. If the nose is fractured, its surface may appear purple in color, as blood from damaged capillaries seeps into the skin. You may see a similar color change beneath the eyes. In addition, the septum or bridge of the nose may be misaligned, the nose may appear twisted, and you may experience trouble breathing through one or both nostrils.
If the bones in the orbital area fracture, your vision can be affected. You may have double vision, or experience blurred or dimmed vision. Your ability to move the eyes naturally may also be impacted. Swelling in the surrounding skin, numbness, changes in the position of the eyeballs, and blood or unusual coloration in the eye are all possible signs that you have an orbital fracture.
When your facial injury is centered on the jaw, you may have pain when you open your mouth, and you may struggle with normal jaw functions such as speaking and chewing food. Your jaw may have been knocked out of position, and teeth may be damaged or missing.
What are the types of maxilla injuries?
The maxilla is the facial area of the skull for the upper jaw extending across the middle third of the face up to the lower eyelid. Mid-face fractures involve the maxilla and are categorized by the Le Fort classification system. In a level 1 Le Fort fracture of the skull, the injury occurs between the nose and upper lip. A Le Fort II fracture occurs in a triangular area bounded by the teeth at the base extending to the bridge of the nose and eye sockets. A Le Fort III fracture is the most serious, affecting an area from the bridge of the nose and above, and extending horizontally across the eye sockets and beyond, to the sides of the head. In Le Fort III fractures, all of the facial bones are essentially destabilized.
How quickly should I seek treatment?
When it comes to facial fractures, watchful waiting is not a prudent option. Although the scale of your injury may turn out to be minor or moderate, any damage to facial structures has the potential to affect your quality of life, and even endanger your life. One reason for this is that bones are usually not the only structures that are damaged as a result of a facial impact, collision or trauma. Vital nerves and muscles are present in this area, and the brain can easily be impacted by any trauma that damages the maxilla.
In the case of facial muscles, the buccinator muscle plays an essential role in maintaining the beauty and spontaneity of your smile, and works in concert with the jaw to allow proper chewing. The zygomaticus is another muscle that you use when displaying facial emotion, such as smiling. And the masseter is one of the chewing muscles that allows you to close the jaw with ease.
The longer you wait to treat a serious facial fracture, the greater the likelihood that damage may be irreversible. Proper functioning of facial joints, muscles and nerves is necessary to ensure you enjoy normal vision, eye movement, breathing, speech, jaw flexibility, and even senses such as taste and smell. Plus, it is important for your doctor to check whether you have suffered a concussion or other damage to the brain and central nervous system.