Facial Injuries Cause More than Physical Trauma
Each year, three million people are treated for facial trauma injuries in emergency departments across the United States. Of these patients, more than half experience multi-system trauma that requires coordinated management between emergency physicians and surgical specialists in oral and maxillofacial surgery, otolaryngology, plastic surgery, ophthalmology, and trauma surgery.
These statistics underscore the importance of the American College of Surgeons’ recommendation that Level I and II trauma centers – those that treat the most serious and complex facial traumas – include an oral and maxillofacial surgeon as part of the trauma team. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are uniquely trained to treat facial trauma, and are well-versed in emergency care, acute treatment, long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation.
While all forms of trauma have an inherent psychological component, facial trauma in particular is closely linked to symptoms of depression and anxiety. In fact, one study found that 25% of patients treated for facial trauma at an urban hospital met the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder one-month post-injury.
Whether the result of a car accident, physical altercation, or athletic injury, facial traumas are generally sudden and unexpected – often resulting in intense physical pain and emotional distress. It is not uncommon for patients to be worried that their injuries will permanently affect their vision, hearing, taste, or sense of smell. The face is a vital part of an individual’s personality and self-image, which compounds the emotional element. This means that even relatively minor injuries can create serious concerns about potential lasting effects on physical appearance. If you or a loved one has experienced facial trauma, it’s important to be aware of the possible psychological impact and seek support when needed.
Of course, prevention is still the best policy when it comes to facial injuries. When followed, the commonsense suggestions noted below can help to prevent the most common causes of facial trauma:
- Use a seatbelt. Car accidents are a leading cause of facial trauma.
- Wear a helmet when participating in activities that involve speed or impact (i.e. football, hockey, skateboarding, bicycle and motorcycle riding). Make sure that the helmet fits correctly and is appropriate for the activity.
- When taking part in sports, purchase a custom-fit mouthguard. When properly fitted, mouthguards provide essential protection and should be worn even if their use is not mandated.
- Follow safety guidelines at work and wear protective head gear when required.
- Pay close attention when walking on slippery or unstable surfaces and in dimly-lit areas where you are more likely to stumble or fall.
Facial injuries are not always extensive; however, they are complex as the impacted area is critically close to the brain and essential to breathing, eating, speaking, seeing and hearing. Given that even a moderate facial injury can potentially be life-changing, seeking guidance from a trusted oral and maxillofacial surgeon as soon as possible is always recommended.
With 4 office locations in North Central Texas, The Texas Oral Surgery Group is well equipped to treat all types of facial injuries. If you are experiencing any type of facial trauma, we encourage you to contact our experienced oral surgeons promptly and let us provide you with the care you deserve!