Management of a facial fracture

A facial fracture involves a broken bone in the face. It is important to note that the face has a complex bone structure. The muscles that are used for swallowing, chewing and talking are linked to these bones.

Nasal fractures are the most common type of facial fracture. The other facial bones can also be fractured. Only one fracture might be present or there are several broken bones. Multiple fractures are likely during vehicular accidents or high-impact mishaps. In addition, the fractures might be unilateral or bilateral.

What are that types?


Nasal fractures are the most common type of facial fracture.

  • Nasal bone fracture (broken nose) – this is the most common form of facial fracture
  • Frontal bone fractures – this is usually due to a high-impact injury that causes the bone to be indented
  • Zygomaticomaxillary fractures (cheekbone/upper jaw)
  • Orbital fractures (eye socket)
  • Mid-face (Le Fort fractures)
  • Mandible (lower jaw)

What are the indications?

The indications of a facial fracture might include pain along with bruising, tenderness or swelling.

Nasal fracture

  • Purplish skin or patch due to the leakage of blood from the ruptured blood vessels
  • Discoloration beneath the eyes
  • Nosebleed
  • Obstruction of one or both nostrils or a deviated septum
  • Crooked nose or indented bridge

Orbital fracture

  • Diminished, blurred or double vision
  • Flattened cheeks
  • Difficulty moving the eyes right, left, up or down
  • Swollen cheek or forehead or beneath the eyes
  • Bulging or sunken eyeballs
  • Facial numbness close to the injury
  • Blood or discoloration in the white part of the eye

How is a facial fracture treated?

The doctor might prescribe pain medications as well as oral steroids to alleviate the swelling. Antibiotics might be given if there is a high risk for infection.

Generally, fractures can be managed with closed reduction or open reduction. For a complex fracture that involves multiple broken bones, it might require reconstructive surgery.

The form of treatment is based on the site and severity of the injury. The objective of treatment for a facial fracture is to restore the normal appearance and functionality of the damaged areas.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on facial fracture is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage facial fractures, register for a first aid and CPR course with Vancouver First Aid.


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