Facial fractures are typically the result of trauma, sometimes as minor as a fall or a ball hitting the face, or a major car accident. It’s important to see your primary care physician or go to the Emergency Department if you think you have a facial fracture, to have a thorough examination after trauma.
Dr. Yee works with the Trauma team at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, which is a regional referral center and Level 2 trauma center accepting patients from as far as the Oregon border. She coordinates care with local ophthalmologists, neurosurgeons, and other specialists when necessary. Prior to Dr. Yee joining the trauma team, many patients with facial fractures, particularly the more extensive fractures involving the midface (Le Fort types) and the skull and forehead (frontal sinus), were referred to quaternary care centers such as UCSF and Stanford; with her craniofacial surgery expertise, most of these patients now have their care locally in Santa Rosa.
Craniofacial surgery techniques involve using incisions that are hidden or camouflaged so that the bones and soft tissue are repositioned and stabilized without creating obvious scars on the face. Typical locations are in the scalp (behind the hairline), in the upper eyelid crease, inside the lower eyelid, and inside the mouth. Due to the healthy blood supply of the face and head, a significant amount of swelling is normal right after the injury, as well as after surgery. Dr. Yee typically waits several days for post-injury swelling to resolve prior to surgery, as this allows easier access through the remote incisions with less tissue damage. Most fractures can be repaired within the first two weeks after injury; if surgery is delayed longer, repair is more difficult as the fractures can start to heal in the misaligned position.
After surgery, ice and elevation can help speed the resolution of swelling. Depending on the type of fracture and repair, there may be other medications or detailed instructions to optimize healing, including prohibitions on nose-blowing, a liquid or soft diet, or antibiotics.
The goals of facial fracture repair are to restore facial symmetry, and optimize vision, eating, and how the teeth fit (occlusion).
If you would like to be referred to Dr. Yee for facial injuries, please call or contact us online to schedule a consultation and bring any imaging (ideally a CT scan of the facial bones).