Facial trauma injuries (physical trauma to the face) can be devastating, both physically and emotionally. Facial trauma — often caused by motor vehicle crashes, falls, and explosions — can range from minor injuries to severe deformities. Depending on the extent of the damage, facial trauma can lead to long-term pain, permanent disfigurement, and disability.
The scars that facial trauma can lead to are not just physical. Disfigurement can cause severe emotional distress, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Causes of Facial Injuries
Facial trauma can occur due to a variety of incidences, such as falls, assaults, and accidents. Motor vehicle accidents (including car, motorcycle, bus and truck crashes) are one of the most common causes of facial injuries. Injuries to the face occur in head-on crashes as well as side impact, and rear-end crashes. During a car accident, facial trauma may occur due to the following:
- Impact from the steering wheel or airbag
- Going through the windshield
- Flying glass
The severity of facial trauma may vary greatly. In some cases, the airway may be compromised, and breathing may be difficult. In other instances, vision may be affected. Symptoms of facial trauma may include the following:
- Facial pain
- Bruising under the eyes
- Misshapen face
- Difficulty breathing or talking
- Facial numbness
Type of Facial Injuries
Different types of facial injuries occur as a result of trauma. Common injuries include:
Fractures: Common facial fractures from accidents include a broken nose, jaw, or cheekbone. It’s also common for someone to sustain multiple fractures after an accident. In severe cases, bones may have been crushed.
Soft tissue injuries: Soft tissue injuries may include injury to the muscles, tendons, and cartilage in the face. Soft tissue damage often occurs due to wounds, abrasions, and punctures to any part of the face. In severe cases, large pieces of tissue may be torn from the face causing significant deformities. Soft tissue damage can require complex surgical repair.
Burns: Burns to the face can also occur after an accident due to contact with hot metal, hot liquids, and stream coming from a burst radiator. Fires can also develop after an accident, which may lead to facial injuries.
Lacerations: Lacerations to the face due to a car accident are very common. Lacerations and abrasions may occur due to road rash, being thrown through the windshield and contact with metal.
Facial Injury Treatment and Recovery
Treatment for facial trauma also may vary based on the location and severity of the injury. Treatment often involves immediate interventions at the scene. Ongoing treatments to repair the damage is also often needed.
Although trauma to the face itself may not be deadly, injuries that interfere with the airway may be life-threatening. One of the first aspects of treating facial trauma may involve making sure the patient’s airway is intact.
In some cases, the nose and mouth may have significant trauma, which affects breathing. A breathing tube might be inserted into the trachea to provide airway protection and allow for manual ventilation to assist with breathing.
Bleeding is also a top concern and treated immediately. Lacerations to the scalp and face can often cause significant bleeding.
After immediate treatment to ensure a patent airway and control bleeding, additional treatment is needed. In cases of broken bones, repositioning the bones may be accomplished through various techniques. For example, fractures of the jaw may require the use of plates and wires to realign the jaw.
Lacerations may require sutures and plastic surgery procedures to minimize scarring. In some instances, such as in burns, skin grafts may be needed.
In crushing injuries, segments of bones may need to be reconstructed, which can require multiple surgeries. Surgery to repair facial fractures is not just for cosmetic purposes. Repairs are also performed to restore function and treat injuries to facial nerves.
People who sustain facial trauma may have additional issues that need treatment, such as head trauma, vision problems, and dental issues. Also, if facial trauma has led to deformities and permanent disability, emotions issues can occur. Facial deformations can lead to a decrease in self-image, depression, and anxiety.
Fortunately, advancements in plastic surgery have improved the outcomes for people with traumatic facial injuries. But it is often a long road to recovery. Multiple surgeries and rehabilitation may be required, which can result in lost wages and extensive medical bills.
If you or a loved one sustained facial trauma due to the negligence of someone else, you might be entitled to financial compensation. Please call our office at 312-698-3694 for a free consultation with one of our top-rated attorneys.