Facial Trauma


Facial trauma is an injury of the face which includes the facial bones such as the upper jaw bone (maxilla). Facial trauma can also involve soft tissue injuries such as burns, and bruises, and small lacerations. Nasal and jaw fractures of the facial bones as well as trauma around the eyes are often. It can result in blindness or pain in the jaw when moving. Symptoms depend on the type of injury.

Blunt force to the face have the potential to cause disfigurement and loss of function. Although it is seldom harmless, facial trauma is lethal if left untreated because it can cause severe bleeding or interference with the airway. This is why a main concern is making sure a patient’s airway is always free of obstruction so they can breathe normally.


Facial injuries include the upper jaw, lower jaw, cheek, nose, eye socket, or forehead. It can be the effect of a wound or caused by blunt force. Common causes of facial trauma for both children and adults include injury mechanisms such as falls, assaults, sports injuries, and vehicle crashes. Blunt assaults, blows from fists or objects, are common as well.

Facial trauma can also result from major wartime injuries such as gunshots and blasts, rabid animal attacks and work-related injuries such as industrial accidents are less serious but more frequent. Vehicular trauma is one of the leading causes of facial injuries due to its daily use. Because of how the body is positioned and strapped in the car, the face strikes a part of the vehicle’s interior upon impact such as the steering wheel. Depending on the severity, airbags can cause corneal abrasions and cuts to the face when they are deployed.


Facial trauma symptoms depend on which particular bones in the face are damaged. Pain, swelling, and bruising, are common symptoms of any broken bone.

Symptoms may include:

  • Numbness over parts of the face.
  • Deformed or uneven face or facial bones
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose (caused by swelling and bleeding)
  • Double vision
  • Missing teeth
  • Swelling or bruising in the eyes area that impede vision
  • Broken nose (nasal fracture)
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Nosebleeds
  • Bruising around the nose
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Forehead fracture (frontal bone)
  • The forehead may appear inverted (pushed inward)
  • Pain around the sinuses
  • Injuries to the eyes
  • Broken cheekbone/upper jaw (zygomatic maxillary fracture)
  • Flatness of the cheek
  • Problems with eyesight
  • Pain with jaw movement


Eye socket (orbital) fracture
This involves the bones of the eye socket and happens when a blunt object like a fist or a ball hits the eye.
Common symptoms are:

  • Swelling of the cheek or forehead
  • Blurry or decreased vision
  • A black eye
  • Bleeding or reddish hue in the white of the eye
  • Numbness around forehead, eyelids, cheek, or upper lip/teeth

Broken jaw

  • Pain from bruising or swelling along the jaw or below the ear
  • Inability to bring the teeth together properly (malocclusion)
  • Bruising under the tongue which indicates a jaw fracture
  • Missing or loose teeth
  • Numbness in the lower lip or chin

Midface (maxillary) fracture:
The main symptom is swelling or apparent face deformities.

Dr. Kanwar Kelley is located at Orinda California and if you are suffering from facial trauma, don’t hesitate to make an appointment (833) 880-7433. He is an experienced physician in many illnesses who can guide your health in the right direction.

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