The period that facial trauma takes to heal is different for each person, plus it depends on several factors. The depth and size of the wound can mean complete healing may occur in weeks or years.
Most surgeons recommend six to eight weeks of downtime after surgery on facial trauma. Bruising or swellings can clear in about two to three weeks. Lack of physical sensation resulting from nerve damage may take much longer to heal.
The human body heals wounds in four stages, though covering and cleaning the trauma area helps your body rebuild itself. The healing stages include:
Immediately after an injury, the scratch or the wound may start bleeding. The body tries to stop the bleeding and begins repairing the damage naturally through a process called hemostasis.
When the bleeding starts, it may clot minutes or seconds later. The blood clot prevents blood loss and helps close the wound. If it is a bruise or swelling, place a cold compress on the area for about ten minutes.
Clotting and scabbing begin with the narrowing of blood vessels around the area to reduce blood loss. Platelets bundle together to create a blockage in the wound. Here, your blood, which contains coagulants, forms a net to hold the platelets together.
Once the bleeding stops, the bleeding veins open again to allow blood to flow through them. Doing this makes the wound swell slightly and feel warm. The fresh blood carries nutrients and oxygen to help heal the wound.
Your body starts rebuilding after the wound is stable and clean. The regrowth is like a construction site, though the body’s building materials come from itself. During this stage, a fresh reddish scar may appear on the wound, but it does not stay long as it gradually fades in time.
Closing the wound is not the end of the healing process, as it still goes on under the skin. The area around the wound still feels itchy as the body continues to strengthen.
The average facial wound takes about three months to heal completely. However, the new skin tissue on the wound develops weaker than before the injury. A deep or large wound has a better chance of healing faster with sutures. Surgical incisions take approximately six to eight weeks to heal, depending on the extent of the operation.
Covering a fresh wound with bandages helps keep the area clean and moist since lacerations require moisture to heal properly.
The main factors that affect facial trauma healing include:
The supply of blood is an essential factor in healing facial trauma since without enough blood, a wound may take much longer to heal. In extreme cases, the injury might never improve.
Age will also affect the speed of healing. Wounds in octogenarians can take longer to heal than in younger, healthier people.
Health conditions that can cause poor blood circulation also affect the healing process. These conditions include hypertension, obesity, vascular disease, and diabetes.
For more on facial trauma healing, call Oral Surgical Associates at (406) 282-8768 to reach our office in Missoula or Hamilton, Montana.