February 15, 2011

Not All Facial Fractures Require Repair... Ask Anaheim Duck's Getzlaf

Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf suffered multiple nasal and sinus fractures when he took a puck to the forehead during a win over Phoenix on December 28, 2010.

He visited a maxillofacial surgeon and had a CT scan which revealed those fractures were non-displaced and stable. A further evaluation determined that the bone breaks remained stable and that surgery was not be required.

This case illustrates that most facial fractures do NOT require surgical repair.

The key elements that lead towards a decision for surgery are the following (not all-inclusive, but general pointers):

- Any functional deficit including inability to open and close the jaw.
- Change in your occlusion (the way your teeth come together).
- Double vision (blurry vision does not count).
- Cosmetic deformity due to facial fracture (bruising and swelling does not count).
- Change in your ability to breath.

The two main specialties able to assess whether surgery is required or not is ENT and Plastic Surgery as well as some oral surgeons.

Read more about Ryan Getzlaf's injuries here.
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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