Russell Westbrook’s facial fracture

Russell Westbrook’s facial fracture

My patients who are Golden State Warriors fans, know that I really only follow one player, one team: Jeremy Lin, and whatever team he is on.  Sadly, I know, now it is the Lakers.  (Let’s not talk any more about it.)

I came across the news of the Oklahoma Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook’s injury when I saw him playing with his face mask on:

from Fox Sports


Russell Westbrook was hit in the face by his teammates’s knee during a game on February 27th.  He had a zygomatic arch fracture, which is the cheekbone – and it was repaired the following day.

I see these fractures occasionally – the repair is usually pretty straightforward, but if it is complex and comminuted (with multiple fragments) sometimes I need to make an incision across the top of the head, from ear to ear, to reduce and fix it properly.  As with all facial fractures, we avoid making visible incisions on the face, so at least the scalp incision is hidden by the hair.  He got the VIP treatment by having it repaired the following day – if there is a lot of swelling, I wait a few days until it improves, because it’s easier to access the fracture then, but I try to get it done within 2 weeks, otherwise the bone can start to heal already, in the wrong position!

Westbrook described his experience getting his “little dent” repaired for an OK reporter.

Usually patients can go home the same day.  If it’s not repaired, there is not much of a functional problem, but then you have to live with a “little dent.”  The way our faces function as a calling card, for recognition and communication, I happen to think restoring symmetry is important!  You don’t want it to distract from how you present yourself.

Just keep in mind, the average patient doesn’t have to wear a face mask – just avoid contact sports and laying on the injured side!

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