Trauma to the jaws and related structures can occur on their own, or in combination with other injuries to the body. In car accidents, a multi- disciplinary approach is sometimes necessary, involving a neuro- surgeon, an orthopedic surgeon, a plastic surgeon and a maxillo-facial surgeon. These patients are treated in combination with the other specialists, and end up in an ICU unit.
In the majority of cases of trauma to the face, either the lower jaw is fractured, or teeth are fractured or displaced. Fractures of the upper jaw are more severe, and are sustained by more advanced trauma.
Most cases of fractures to the jaws are as a result of assaults or sports injuries.
Soft Tissue Laceration
Lacerations are usually attended to immediately at the casualty department. An anti tetanus injection is also given, especially if ground or dirt was involved in the injury.
Associated fractures can be treated afterwards. Scar revisions can be performed after 9 months.
Emergency of Facial Fracture
The facial bones are designed to protect more important structures like the brain, in the case of a major facial / skeletal injury.
Therefore very seldom do we find it necessary to operate on a patient with facial bone fractures as an emergency procedure. If no other injuries to the rest of the body exist, which necessitate immediate attention, it is recognized currently, that we should wait for the swelling to subside before attempting the reduction of the facial fractures.
Only in the case of severe bleeding or airway obstruction, will an immediate operation be necessary.