Aside from aesthetic concerns, there are many reasons for repairing damage to the face. Fractures to the face can involve the skull bones, cheek bones (Zygoma), the bones supporting the eye (the orbit), nasal bones, and the upper (maxilla) and lower jaw (mandible). These fractures and lacerations of the face can cause functional problems affecting vision, breathing and use of the mouth. Facial trauma and distortion of the normal facial anatomy can also cause aesthetic concerns.
In most cases, reconstruction after facial trauma is best done within the first 10 days after an injury. An initial assessment is performed, often X-rays or CT scans are required if a bony injury is suspected. Ideally the bones of the face are put back in their proper place using incisions in the natural creases of the face or inside the mouth. This surgery requires a general anaesthetic and, depending on the complexity, may last anywhere from minutes to several hours. Small titanium plates, screws and wires can be used to keep bones in place and on occasion, the jaws must be wired together to ensure the bones heal in place.