Broken Bones | Face Injuries | Reconstructive Maxillofacial Surgery after 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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