Facial Trauma 101
Head and nose trauma are among the most common conditions treated in emergency rooms. But, how people address these issues can have a long-lasting impact on their ability to maintain a balanced, natural-looking facial appearance.
In this episode of the Smile podcast, Harvard-trained facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Babak Azizzadeh discusses facial trauma with board-certified head and neck surgeon Dr. Jonathan Cabin. The doctors also examine how to treat a laceration, broken nose, or other facial trauma.
What Is the Best Way to Treat a Facial Laceration?
A laceration is the most common facial trauma, according to Dr. Cabin. To treat a patient’s facial laceration, Dr. Cabin learns as much as he can about the wound. He finds out how and when the laceration happened. Dr. Cabin will also assess the laceration’s severity.
The depth of the laceration, age of the patient, and other factors can be used to determine the optimal treatment for a facial cut, Dr. Cabin says. Meanwhile, Dr. Cabin may use any of the following options to repair a laceration:
- Absorbable sutures
- Non-absorbable sutures
Dr. Cabin notes that patients are susceptible to scarring in instances where absorbable sutures or glue are used to repair a laceration. Comparatively, non-absorbable sutures won’t cause a negative reaction, but a doctor will need to remove them in the days following treatment.
What Is the Best Way to Treat Nasal Trauma?
Tissue inside the nose can tear, Dr. Cabin points out. In this instance, excessive nasal bleeding can occur. People who experience excessive nasal bleeding must receive a full evaluation to determine the proper treatment to correct the problem and prevent it from recurring.
People dealing with nasal trauma are susceptible to a septal hematoma, which occurs when blood collects in the area between the nostrils (septum). A septal hematoma that goes untreated can cause nasal cartilage to lose its blood supply. If this happens, cartilage can deteriorate, which can cause the nasal structure to collapse.
Furthermore, people dealing with nasal trauma can lose consciousness or experience other severe side effects. In these cases, it is paramount to go to an emergency room. This allows people to treat their nasal trauma and find out if they are dealing with a concussion or other serious health issues.
Ultimately, it helps to err on the side of caution with nasal trauma. For people who believe they are dealing with a broken nose, nasal fracture, or other nasal trauma, seek out a doctor immediately. Because, the longer nasal trauma goes addressed, the more likely it becomes that the issue can permanently damage the facial appearance or cause long-term health problems.
Tips to Treat Facial Lacerations and Nasal Trauma
Immediate treatment of facial lacerations and nasal trauma is crucial, according to Dr. Cabin. Treating facial trauma within four to six hours of onset lowers the risk of infection. It also helps improve wound healing.
In addition, a facial plastic surgeon can provide expert support to patients dealing with facial trauma, Dr. Cabin says. He encourages patients to consider a facial plastic surgeon with extensive experience to treat facial trauma. That way, a patient can minimize their risk of complications during facial trauma treatment.
Facial trauma must be treated correctly; otherwise, it can have a lifelong impact on the facial appearance. Listen to the Smile podcast for facial trauma treatment insights from Dr. Azizzadeh and Dr. Cabin.