Recovering From Facial Trauma: What to Expect

Whether from an assault, car accident, or another incident, facial trauma can cause disfigurement, pain, and loss of function. It can be one of the most traumatic experiences of your life.


After all, your face lets you express yourself to the world. Fortunately, you do not have to live with the scars of your trauma. A skilled and experienced cosmetic surgeon can help bring back the former you.


What Is Facial Trauma?


Damage to the facial soft tissue or bone is what medical professionals call facial trauma. It can result from car accidents, falls, sports injuries, assault, thermal burns, chemical exposure, animal bites, etc. 


The face is an intricate body area containing many blood vessels, muscles, bones, nerves, and sensory organs. Failure to treat facial trauma can lead to disfigurement or permanent loss of function. But emergency doctors, reconstructive surgeons, and other medical professionals can work together to lessen the risk of these complications. 


Facial Trauma Repair


Due to the high degree of emotional and physical distress and the sensitive nature of facial injuries, early treatment is necessary to achieve the best possible outcome. Your doctor will give you a CT scan to assess the damage. That will help determine the appropriate steps to achieve optimal aesthetic results and restore function. 


Facial trauma repair is any surgical procedure to fix an injury to the jaw or face. Surgery may be necessary to stop bleeding, set broken bones, or repair damaged tissue.


After Repair


It may take several days for the swelling to subside and about two weeks for the bruising to fade. Eating may be challenging at first, and your face will probably look slightly different than before your injury.


So, subsequent surgery may be necessary to help restore your facial appearance. Your injury and work activities will determine how soon you can return to work. Other things to expect include:




It is normal to experience some degree of pain after your procedure. Your doctor will prescribe medication to control pain. But since narcotics are addictive, use as little as possible.


A sore throat is normal if you underwent the procedure in the hospital under general anesthesia. That is because of the breathing tube placed down your throat. The pain and discomfort should resolve quickly with frequent consumption of cool liquids. 




Some blood may ooze from your surgical sites for a day or two after your procedure. If you are experiencing excessive bleeding, place wet plain black tea bags over the incision site and apply constant pressure. Inform your doctor or rush to the nearest emergency room if the bleeding persists.




Some swelling after facial trauma surgery is not a big concern. It will be most pronounced about three days after surgery, but it should gradually subside on its own. You can apply ice packs to your face and sleep with your head elevated to lessen the swelling. 




Depending on the injury you sustained and the type of surgery you underwent, it may be necessary to have your teeth immobilized. The purpose of doing this is to maintain your teeth and facial bones in the correct position. The period the teeth remain fixated will vary from patient to patient.


You can also expect some numbness and change in sensation after surgery, but this should resolve with time. Your recovery will depend on the extent of your injury and surgery. However, most patients can resume their normal activities within two weeks. Your doctor will tell you when it is safe to do so.


For more on facial trauma or to book an appointment, call Oral Surgical Associates at (406) 282-8768 to reach us in Missoula or Hamilton, Montana.

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