Facial reconstruction is a surgery performed to the head, neck, and facial structures to fix facial deformities. In most cases, this reconstructive surgery is done as treatment for accidental trauma, birth defects, disease, burns, and severe infection. But aside from that, facial bone reconstruction can also be done to target aesthetic concerns.
The main goal is to rebuild the structures of the face to improve function and enhance the patient’s confidence and comfort with their appearance. To achieve this, viable bone is transferred from other areas of the body to replace missing or dislodged facial bone or fixed surgical techniques can be applied.
The common treatment with facial reconstruction involves extensive trauma or injury and birth deformities such as cleft lip or palate. It is also used to treat burn victims and those who suffered severe infection. Usually, patients with these problems suffer from severe damage of facial bones and soft tissues. So, they are unable to blink, smile, talk, or eat.
To address this, facial bone reconstruction is done. Not only will there be improvements on the appearance of the face, but there is also restoration of the functions of the mouth. With these, the patient can eat and talk better. And because they are able to eat properly, there is also positive influences on their general health. Ultimately, facial bone reconstruction gives patients a complete improvement in their quality of life.
$1,400 to $14,500
There are several approaches to facial bone reconstruction depending on what needs to be done and the existing facial structures that your surgeon can work on. But before doing any surgery, the patient will be placed under sedatives or anesthetics. General anesthesia may also be recommended for more involved procedures.
For one, pieces of bone on other parts of the body such as from the pelvis, ribs, or skull, can be used to reinstate the structural integrity of a fractured bone. This will help keep the existing bone in place and enhance its strength. Also, this can be used as a replacement for missing or severely damaged bone by filling in the spaces to provide adequate facial structures to support the facial muscles and tissues.
Another option is through fixation which is done to hold the bones in place, stabilizing them until they are healed enough to function alone. Small metal screws and plates are used to fixate the bone, preventing motion within the facial structures. Usually, this is done for trauma to the jaws wherein the upper and lower jaws are temporarily wired shut to allow healing of the fracture or reposition displaced bones. And the duration in which the fixation devices are kept in position can take several days. And the duration in which the fixation devices are kept in position can take several days.
Another approach is usually used for nasal fractures where in a closed nasal reduction is done to set the nose back in place and reposition broken nasal bones. This can take up to 10 days to completely heal.
Depending on the procedure, a facial bone reconstruction surgery can last anywhere from 4 to 12 hours.
Before your surgery, your surgeon will need to conduct a thorough medical history and clinical examination to assess the viable structures left. From this, they can conclude the best approach including how to save the existing facial structures and how to improve the function and appearance. At this time, they will also determine whether the damage is suitable for treatment using facial bone reconstruction. Or implants or prosthetics are needed.
Usually, minor surgeries require the use of sedatives and local anesthetics to keep the patient comfortable during treatment. But for more complex surgeries or if multiple procedures are needed, it is best to do general anesthesia. Your surgeon will discuss the suitable options with you.
The most important concern with facial bone reconstruction is the airway. Extra care must be done to ensure that the patient can properly breathe. Generally, patients who underwent more extensive surgery due to severe damage need closer monitoring. For that, it is required that they stay in the intensive care unit for the first 2 days after surgery.
Without complications, facial bone reconstruction patients are good to go within 1 week. But they should keep in mind to follow their surgeon’s instructions for better and faster healing. This may include frequent changes of the dressing and maintenance of general health with adequate nutrition.
Over time, visible scars should heal and recover, leaving behind faint thin lines.
Complete healing is expected in 6 weeks but this differs with every patient. Healing is closely related to the patient’s age, health, attitude, pain tolerance, and the techniques employed by the surgeon.
We understand you may want to change your plans due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its health implications.
All surgeries carry risks and the patient should be fully aware of these before they consent to surgery. These are discussed by the surgeon prior to the treatment. Some of the risks and side effects encountered during and after facial bone reconstruction are:
These risks and side effects are more likely encountered by patients who smoke, have poor nutrition, have other medical conditions, or those who had previous nerve damage.
Who are the best candidates for facial bone reconstruction?
Those who have suffered from:
Where will the surgeon obtain bone grafts for facial bone reconstruction?
Your surgeon might take bone from your hips, legs, or ribs to perform a graft. This is the idea solution and presents the least possibility for a graft reject. However, if there are no viable bones available, your surgeon may use bone tissues donated from cadavers.
What are the effects of untreated facial fractures?
Several complications may arise from untreated fractures. Such include bone deformity, permanent nerve damage causing loss of sensitivity and function on the damaged area, extensive damage on the muscles resulting in loss of movement, extended and severe pain and swelling, and infection to the bone.