Broken Bones | Face Injuries | Reconstructive Maxillofacial Surgery after facial injuries

Facial Injuries

There are few things that define ourselves better than our face. Other people recognize us by the characteristics of our faces so if by any chance we get our facial shape altered there is no doubt life is going to change.

Thankfully there are doctors specialized on reconstructive maxillofacial surgeries allowing that someone who went through some accident with facial injuries can expect a brighter future.

Reconstructive plastic facial surgery is performed to correct functional impairments caused by burns, traumatic injuries (such as facial bone fractures), congenital abnormalities (such as cleft palates or cleft lips), developmental abnormalities, infection and disease, cancer or other tumors. Reconstructive plastic surgery is usually performed to improve function but it may be done to approximate a normal appearance.

skull - photo by haiinee @ www.sxc.hu
skull - photo by haiinee @ www.sxc.hu

My experience with reconstrutive maxillofacial surgery

After falling from a second floor balcony while in vacations on the French Alps I broke both wrists, the left mandibular condyle (jaw`s joint), lost a tooth and several more bones from my face. As I was away from home, the French doctors decided to only operate the wrists to allow the flight back home as soon as possible. It took a week for me to return to Portugal but I only went through the reconstructive facial surgery after three more weeks.

I´m not ashame to admit I was scare to death at that point and even after the surgery I never look myself in a mirror for more than a month. I felt so swollen after the surgery that I thought I would never look the same again.

During the surgery doctors corrected some of the fractures and asymmetries caused by the incident. As you can see the X-ray pictures show all the little titanium rings used to fix and support the fractures in place.

My skull X-ray after surgery
My skull X-ray after surgery

In the next picture you can easily see all those little metal pieces. Don´t ask me how many I have on my face, I never stop to count them but there are a few to say the least.

My skull X-ray after the surgery (upper view)
My skull X-ray after the surgery (upper view)

What happened after the surgery?

After the surgery and all the corrections made it was then required wiring both jaws together to achieve proper position and proper movement of the lower jaw while chewing in the future. This was made with clips fixed on my front teeth and little rubber bands which did not let me open my mouth. I had to change those rubber bands every single day for more than 2 months.

As you can imagine during that time I lost too much weight because I never got used to drink all the food. Much of the eating pleasure resides on the chewing and I only realized that after this "liquid diet" LOL.


Consequences...

Looking back (and forgetting those months just after the surgery) I must thank my surgeon and his team because even I can´t find any scar from this operation (and there were a few). All the incisions they made were either inside my mouth or in the eyelids where no scars would be visible, at least after they took all the stitches. And this was perhaps the most difficult time for me - I hate to have someone touching my eyes - but after that torture it was nice to see that there were no visible scars on my face :)

I still can´t open my mouth completely even if I did all the exercises they recommended me to do. But that don´t bother me much except when I have to go to a dentist appointment and that already happened before the accident LOL.

Facial Trauma
Facial Trauma

From automobile accidents to sports injuries, this reference covers severe lacerations of the facial skin to extreme injuries of the underlying skeleton, nasal and oral lining, and dental structures—offering a multidisciplinary and hands-on approach to the management, reconstruction, and restoration of a wide variety of soft tissue wounds and fractures of the face in both children and adults.

 
Facial Danger Zones: Avoiding Nerve Injury in Facial Plastic Surgery
Facial Danger Zones: Avoiding Nerve Injury in Facial Plastic Surgery

Lahey Clinic Medical Center, Burlington, Massachusetts. Text for residents and new practitioners in plastic surgery on avoiding facial nerve injury. Author is board certified in both neurology and plastic surgery. Color three-dimensional line drawings.

 

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Please feel free to leave your comments and share your experiences after this kind of injury: 34 comments

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Funride, what agonies you went through. Being able to share your ordeal definitely proves that you have recovered not just physically but also mentally.

So glad you're okay now my dear young friend

greetings from the 'other side'

Zsuzsy


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Funride, my friend, I am sorry to hear about this misfortune! You have many friends who love you and would indeed love you even if you looked like me! Oh the horrors of that! Be well Brother!!!


funride profile image

funride 6 years ago from Portugal Author

Hi my dear Szuzsy, thanks for all the kind words you always "tell" me :)

I´m OK for more than a year, in fact the first year and a half after the incident were not easy... but with some help from my friends... everything come out fine ;)

I just hope this page can help other people going through what I did and that´s the main reason why I wrote this hub.


funride profile image

funride 6 years ago from Portugal Author

Hey Micky Dee! Thank you partner, your funny words always make me feel better (no matter how good I´m feeling already). Your look doesn´t matter much as long as you keep your way of life and your freethinking ;)

Being both of us bicycle-addicts it`s normal that we look alike (the helmet, the jersey, the shorts, we all look the same) :D

Fun rides Bro ;)


LdsNana-AskMormon profile image

LdsNana-AskMormon 6 years ago from Southern California

Funride --

Such an ordeal. I can't imagine anyone having to suffer in this manner. However, I am so grateful to know that there are good and competent people in this world who know how to put us back together after such trauma.

My son-in-law is a maxillofacial surgeon and has shared many stories with us, of incredible repairs that he has either witnessed or done himself. It is truly amazing what they can do. I'm so happy to hear that for YOU, it has been a positive experience.

Thanks so much for sharing your story:)


funride profile image

funride 6 years ago from Portugal Author

Oh Nana, thank you for showing here it´s nice to have friends visiting us :-)

You must cherish your son-in-law for his dedication to others - it´s a very difficult and hard job! But so beautiful at the same time, thank him for me ;)

You know me I always look at the bright side of life - there can only be positive experiences ;)


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

So that is where you have been. Glad you are doing OK now :)


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Thank you, funride, for having the courage to share this amazing nightmare-turned-miracle. How lucky you were to get such expert medical care.

I, too, once fell from a second story, but landed on my right side. Broke my pelvis in four places and shattered an elbow. Emergency personnel were amazed that I wasn't paralyzed (or dead). Twenty years on, the only evidence of the fall is a scar below the elbow from an incision surgeons made to remove dozens of bone fragments, and a very slight "listing" to the right when I walk. But like you, I'm quite happy with the outcome. (Also learned I could write quite well with my left hand, albeit backwards, meaning whatever I wrote had to be read while held up to a mirror!)


funride profile image

funride 6 years ago from Portugal Author

Hi Ethel, in fact I have been away not because of this but because I´m working off-line since the end of 2008. The incident happened back in 2007 ;)


funride profile image

funride 6 years ago from Portugal Author

Hey JamaGenee, thank you for your kind words. Your history is not less amazing let me tell you... but it´s great to know that you also overcome your limitations after some time ;)


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Oh wow - what an ordeal! You definitely grow through your experiences and even more so by sharing them. Thoughts and prayers continue to come your way - best to you! Steph


funride profile image

funride 6 years ago from Portugal Author

Hey Steph, so nice of you to stop by. Is it me or you´re getting prettier? ;D

When it all happened (broken wrists and face) I also thought it was more than I could take... but now looking back it doesn´t seem so bad for me anymore. Sometimes I think I´m just a lucky guy... but in the end luck it´s something we make, isn´t it? And I think I made much of my luck ;)

Are you ready!? Now catch this kiss going your way :}


robie2 profile image

robie2 6 years ago from Central New Jersey

You are quite an inspiration, Funride-- that is quite a story and thank you for sharing it. I think I remember that you had a cast on your arm or something when I first joined hubpages. I think I thought you just fell off a bicycle or something.... had no idea that you had been through anything like facial reoonstruction and shattered wrists. We do make our own luck, and yours is in your positive attitude. I'm proud to know you:-)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

That was some fun ride you had coming down from the balcony, I'm so glad it came out so well. I like your positive attitude and am happy to meet yet another cyclist. It's a wonder Micky hasn't tripped up on his own hair--he must have one of those Rastafarian doo's to keep it up out of the spokes. =:) Best to you.


BeatsMe profile image

BeatsMe 6 years ago

Sorry about the accident, Funride. Life, you'll never know what'd happen next. Hope you recover soon.


funride profile image

funride 6 years ago from Portugal Author

Hey Robie, thank you for such kind words. I have no words but THANK YOU :)


funride profile image

funride 6 years ago from Portugal Author

@ Winsome - I´m not sure if it was a fun ride or not... I don´t remember a thing :/

LOL Micky will love your comment :D


funride profile image

funride 6 years ago from Portugal Author

Yoo BeatsMe, thanks for commenting. Don´t be sorry, this happened almost 3 years ago and now I feel fine and recovered ;)


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 6 years ago from California

Looking back on this horrible incident makes it seem not so bad simply because you have made it through it fairly unscathed, but I'm sure while you were suffering it was monumental. What a great example for people who are currently suffering with similar trials. It is a real life story of hope and courage and an illustration of the saying, "This too shall pass." Thanks for sharing.


funride profile image

funride 6 years ago from Portugal Author

My dear friend In The Doghouse, your words make me remember everything I´ve been through really... but you´re right and I hope it can help others going through the same ;)

Thanks


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Sorry you had to go through such pain. But I'm glad you have been able to share this.


funride profile image

funride 6 years ago from Portugal Author

Hi Sandy, thanks for commenting.

"That which does not kill us makes us stronger." ;)


Lucy lulu 6 years ago

Hi, more than ten years ago, my head was broken in a car accident. The doctors gave me three hours to live. They said I would be a cegetable if I lived, never able to walk, talk, or really move. I now bike or run every day and make mink teddy bears. However, I can never look at myself in the mirror without wanting to break all mirrors in my house. I have gotten to the point where I can honestly say I hate my face. How much did it cost you to get your face "fixed"? I am trying to think of some way to fix myself and other than wearing a paper bag over my face, I have not come up with much.


funride profile image

funride 6 years ago from Portugal Author

Hey Lucy, nice to meet you. I´m sorry to hear that your face reconstruction didn`t went well... it probably had something to do with the injuries you suffered during the accident. In my case it was just broken bones, no visible scars from the impact...

As I´m Portuguese and we have a social health system I was operated (just once) on a public hospital and only had to pay specific taxes.

I understand your concerns (I also didn`t like to watch my face after the surgery) but remember that your life is much more important than any aesthetic problem and if you can`t find a way to fix it at least you can always share your beauty from inside... and I bet you`re beautiful :)

Take care and enjoy your rides ;)


Lucy 6 years ago

Everyone says that it is not that noticable that my eye socket was broken unless someone studies me. I am very lucky to be alive. I guess I need to just get past my ugly face. I keep reading up on surgury to fix broken face bones and everything says that it needs to be done within a few months. So I am out of luck with surgery, espiecially since I am not willing to risk my life to look "normal".


mintymoo 5 years ago

Hi Funride,

So sorry to hear about your ordeal. You showed great courage and I am glad you have made a full recovery. Two months ago, I broke my right cheekbones and have two titanium plates inserted. There is a little swelling still and a slight bruise still showing but generally I don't look too bad - slightly different, but not dreadfully so. However, i have numbness in my upper right gum and teeth and also right upper lip. Can you tell me if this goes away - and how long did that take, for you?

I remember feeling very sorry for myself when I was admitted for surgery but, looking at all the other people in the ward with facial injuries in the hospital, I felt very lucky indeed - as my injuries were nothing compared to some other patients.

Best of luck for the future.


funride profile image

funride 5 years ago from Portugal Author

Hi Mintymoo, thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience with maxillofacial surgery. In my case, after the surgery I also lost a great deal of sensitivity in my face specially on my upper lip and my cheeks. After a few months (I can`t tell how many for sure) I regain some sensitivity back but that strange feeling every time something touch my cheeks just under my eyes went on for almost 2 years. Right now all those symptoms are gone and I almost forget I had that surgery :)

You`re right, knowing that others went through out similar situations can help us to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and learn how to get on with our life. That was one of the main reasons for me to write this hubs - sharing my experiences with others who are going through similar injuries.

I`m sure you`ll recover completely soon enough. Wishing you all the best!


mintymoo 5 years ago

Hi Funride, Thank you so much for your support. It really does help to know that someone else has suffered what you have and that eventually, the symptons go away. I keep thinking I am going to lose my teeth - as they are numb too - but you have certainly helped me.

At least you live in a beautiful, warm country ! I have just returned from Cascais (where I go frequently) and am back in the cold, rainy weather.

All the best to you!


funride profile image

funride 5 years ago from Portugal Author

After my incident I lost a tooth and there were others which became very loose... thankfully those have became much better with time. I do not think your teeth are going to fall.

What a coincident Minty... it`s really a small world! Who knows maybe one day we can meet for a coffee :)

Don`t forget to comeback here and share your experiences during all the recovery process. Thanks ;)


mintymoo 5 years ago

Many, many thanks, Funride. Since contacting you, I have felt so much better - encouraged that things will improve with time. I will keep in touch and look forward to that Delta coffee!

Regards :)


Mike's Corner profile image

Mike's Corner 5 years ago from Maryland

What a tough fall Funride, but your awesome attitude is inspirational and I am sure helped lead to your great recovery . . . Keep up the good work and the great hubs!


funride profile image

funride 5 years ago from Portugal Author

Thanks Mike! ;)


Cristina Santos 3 years ago

Nem imagina como agradeço a informação que colocou aqui. O meu marido caiu do telhado, está neste momento internado a aguardar a cirurgia maxilofacial e em simultâneo a recuperar de uma fratura duma vértebra lombar . Se ainda estiver em Portugal gostava imenso de poder conversar consigo. Quero muito estar pronta para apoiar o meu marido, e conversar com alguém que já passou por esta cirurgia seria importante para mim.


funride profile image

funride 3 years ago from Portugal Author

Bom dia Cristina! Claro que terei todo o gosto em poder ajudar, a melhor forma será a Cristina ir ao meu perfil e clicar em "fan mail", nesse menu encontrará um link para me enviar um email. Dessa forma poderei dar-lhe mais informações (email, telem, etc.) para nos colocarmos em contacto. Desde já, deixo votos de rápidas melhoras para o seu marido!

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