Facial injuries are potentially dangerous due to the sheer number of structures involved. So many essential bodily functions involve the face, including breathing, eating, sight, hearing, etc. An injury to the face has the potential to seriously disrupt the way in which a person senses the world and can have disastrous consequences. It is therefore very important to fully assess the severity of any sort of facial injury and to receive the best treatment possible in order to ensure that the functions of the face are preserved.
Face injuries tend to be the result of high speed impacts. These can take place in two ways. A object can strike the face with significant force to cause an injury or the face can be in motion and strike something that is immovable. The second option is normally associate with more damage because when a face is moving at high speed, the body is as well. Therefore there tends to be other associated injuries to the body, such as what occurs in a motorcycle accident or fall from a height.
Examination of a facial injury is very important. As with any trauma, it is first appropriate to assess the ABC’s: Airway, Breathing, and Circulation. Because the airway and breathing require the cranium, assessment of the face occurs first. If the person does not have an airway or is not breathing, those functions need to be restored first.
Assuming that a patient is able to breathe on their own, it is important to investigate whether any of the sense organs and cranial nerves are affected by the face injury. This will start with visual acuity and fields and continue to extra-ocular movements. Facial sensation and movement should be tested along with hearing. The ability to swallow, move the tongue, and lift the shoulders will indicate if there is any other nerve damage from the face injuries.
With intact nerves, it is important to determine if any of the bony structures have been fractures. The face tends to break in predictable ways. The LeFort classification is helpful in this regard and can be used to judge face injury severity. This type of fracture can be very dangerous because it can compromise breathing and other essential facial functions. The treatment required stabilization of the face by appropriately trained physicians in a hospital setting with the requisite tools.
With minor injuries, very little treatment is necessary. The face has an incredibly capacity for healing due to its incredible vascularity. Blood flow to the face is incredible, which can commonly result in large amount of bleeding. This can be scary but does not tend to be dangerous. The large blood supply as causes extensive bruising, which many people worry about and attempt to cover up. In almost all cases, the bruising resolves without any problems. Overall, facial injuries can be dangerous, but with appropriate treatment and care and person can recover with minimal sequelae.