Greater Washington Plastic Surgery Associates | Vineet Mehan, MD, | Earl M. Johnson, Jr., MD,

Facial Reconstruction Surgery in Washington DC & Fairfax, VA

facial reconstruction surgery washington DC & Fairfax, VA

WHAT IS INVOLVED IN A FACIAL RECONSTRUCTION SURGERY? 

Facial reconstruction is generally required when there is facial trauma resulting in facial fractures. The bones of the face are designed to protect the brain and the eyes, to function for chewing and eating and are the basis of everyone’s unique appearance. Therefore, when these bones are broken they must be accurately reconstructed. This usually involved access the bones with carefully hidden incisions, placing the bone into proper alignment and then holding them there with small, thin plates and screws.

What is the recovery like after a facial plastic surgery?

The recovery is largely dependent on the complexity of the injury and the complexity of the reconstruction. Overall, the recovery is quite quick. Although some patient may need to have their jaw wired shut while they heal. During this time period, they can only eat soft foods that do not have to be chewed and drink liquids.

What type of injuries can be treated by a facial reconstructive surgery?

Facial fractures are the most common injuries that are addressed. This can be fractured involving the lower jaw bone (mandible), upper jaw bone (maxilla), cheekbone (zygoma), the bone around the eye (orbital bone or orbital floor), forehead bone (frontal bone or frontal sinus). Facial reconstruction is also done for a patient with head and neck cancer.

Why choose Dominion Plastic Surgery for reconstructive surgery?

Dominion Plastic Surgery is the premier reconstructive surgery practice in northern Virginia. Drs. Mehan and Johnson have dedicated themselves to caring for complex traumatic wounds. Our experience with these complex problems is unparalleled. From facial fractures, hand injuries to lower extremity trauma, our practice has seen it all. We will expertly guide you through your own individualized plan of recovery from start to finish.

Types of Facial Fractures Treated:

Orbital Bone Fractures
  • The eyeball (orbital globe) is housed and protected within the bones of the face referred to as the Orbits. The orbits are made up of 8 individual and distinct — hyperlink to image of orbital bones
  • When a blunt traumatic injury to the orbital region occurs, it is common that one or multiple of these bones sustain a fracture. The most common injury is an orbital floor fracture commonly referred to as a “blowout” fracture.
  • Common injuries resulting in orbital bone fractures:
    • Sports-related: baseball, tennis, etc in which one might get directly hit in the eye with a ball
    • Traumatic injuries such as motor vehicle collision, work-related, assault
  • Symptoms
    • Swelling, bruising, and tenderness are all normal
    • EMERGENT symptoms to report include difficulty moving your eye, nausea associated with upward gaze, vision changes such as blurry or double vision. These would necessitate immediate evaluation and may require surgery to prevent permanent injury.
  • Diagnosis
    • CT scan of the facial and orbital bones is required to confirm location and extent of fractures
    • It is also recommended that a complete ophthalmology exam is performed to evaluate and rule out any injury to the globe itself
  • Treatment of orbital fractures is dependent on location and severity of fracture
    • Mild, nondisplaced fractures may heal over time with close observation
    • Severe or displaced fractures require surgical repair to realign the bones and stabilize them in place with hardware.
    • Orbital floor fractures specifically require an overnight hospital to closely observe for potential complications following surgery.
  • Goals
    • Goals of orbital floor reconstructive surgery are to repair the fracture, protect the orbital globe, resolve any ocular nerve or muscle entrapment, preserve vision, and improve function and appearance
Zygoma Fractures
  • The zygoma is commonly known as the cheekbone and lies between the orbital bone and the upper jaw (maxilla).
  • Symptoms
    • Swelling, bruising, and tenderness.
    • You may notice an indented appearance on the injured side.
    • Additionally, you may have difficulty chewing or opening your mouth.
  • Diagnosis
    • A CT scan of the facial bones along with a complete physical exam is required to evaluate and diagnose the facial bone fractures accurately.
  • Treatment
    • If the diagnosis of a zygoma fracture is confirmed, surgery may be required. This may be done in a variety of ways depending on the complexity of the fracture and if there are other bones that were also broken at the time of injury.
    • One option requires a simple incision behind the hairline and does not involve plates and screws to fixate the fracture.
    • The alternative is to place incisions in hidden areas (ie- inside the mouth or lining of the eye) to provide access to the bone and allow for fixation.
  • Goals
    • Goals of zygoma reconstructive surgery are to restore function and appearance while stabilizing any fractures.
Maxilla and Mandible Fractures
  • The maxilla (upper jaw) and mandible (lower jaw) are the “teeth bearing” bones of the face.
  • Fractures of these bones occur from either direct or indirect blunt force to the facial bones.
    • Fracture of these facial bones may also be associated with fractures of the teeth or tooth roots within the region of the bony fracture sites. If this occurs, follow up with a dentist or oral surgeon will be advised.
  • Symptoms
    • Maxilla and mandibular fractures can result in “mal-occlusion” of the teeth. When this occurs, the patient will feel that the teeth do not fit together. This occurs because the fracture site is contacting the teeth of the opposing jaw in a different way from before the injury.
  • Diagnosis
    • As with other facial fractures, a CT scan is indicated to assess exact location of the fractures and allow for surgical planning.
  • Treatment
    • Treatment of fractures of the maxilla and mandible is most commonly performed with surgical re-alignment of the fractured facial bones and fixating the fractures with microplates and screws.
    • It is often required that metal braces, referred to as “arch bars” or MMF for maxillomandibular fixation, be placed along the upper and lower teeth in addition to the placement of the microplates and screws to optimize alignment of the teeth to their original position.
    • The arch bars may remain in place for up to six weeks after surgery to provide additional support to the alignment of the bony fractures during the healing phase.
    • If there are any broken teeth or tooth roots, these will likely need to be removed at the time of the surgery.
  • Goals
    • The main goals of maxilla and mandible reconstructive surgery are to stabilize fractures and restore teeth occlusion, which will improve function and appearance of the jaw.
    • One commonly known complication is the inability to perfectly align the teeth so that the bite feels “off”. This happens if even one tooth mismatches as little as a millimeter. In this case, dental consultation is recommended to assess the need for tooth shaping or alternatives.
Frontal Bone and Frontal Sinus Fractures
  • The bony support of the forehead is made up of the Frontal Bones.
  • Within the frontal bones in the region above the nasal bridge lies the frontal sinuses.
    • In cases where the forehead sustains blunt trauma, the frontal sinuses are often fractured.
  • Symptoms
    • Bruising and pain are common
    • There may or may not be a bony deformity that is visible or palpable
    • Frequently have no associated symptoms
  • Diagnosis
    • A complete CT evaluation of the involved region is required prior to treatment.
  • Treatment
    • The bony fractured segments are realigned and fixated with microplates and screws.
    • In some cases of high-speed trauma, the bones may be broken into tiny pieces which are not able to be pieced back together. In certain circumstances, bone graft or titanium mesh will need to be used to bridge the gap and provide stability for the overlying tissue.
    • Fractures of the frontal sinuses may cause long-term issues which need to be addressed if the drainage system of the sinuses (nasal-frontal ducts) is damaged due to the trauma of the frontal bone fractures.
  • Goals
    • Restore appearance and function, and prevent complications of frontal sinus fractures
    • a CT scan is required for all frontal sinus fractures, whether surgery is performed or not, 6 months after the injury to ensure that the sinuses are draining normally. If there is an occlusion of the ducts, surgery may be required to restore normal outflow and function.
Nasal Fractures
  • Nasal bone fractures are the most common facial bone injury.
  • Symptoms
    • Traumatic nasal bone injuries may or may not cause obvious deformities such as a crooked nose. More than that, they can result in difficulty breathing due to damage to the internal structure, the septum, causing it to deviate and make one of the nasal passages smaller than the other.
    • Considered a surgical emergency, bleeding within the tissue lining the septum can result in a septal hematoma. If not treated in time, this can cause permanent damage to the septum itself and will require reconstructive surgery to restore both function and cosmetic appearance.
    • Additionally, a perforated septum,
  • Diagnosis
    • Even if there is obvious deformity, a CT scan is usually required to correctly diagnose the extent of damage and determine if surgery is necessary
  • Treatment:
    • Nondisplaced fractures that do not cause airway obstruction may be watched nonoperatively.
    • Nasal bone fractures that are displaced or causing nasal airway obstruction require surgical repair. This may range from a simple reduction while awake to going to the operating room for more complex fractures or those that require intervention for septal damage.
    • Even in cases where the nasal bones and/or nasal septum are aligned, straightened and reduced, there is always the possibility that due to normal healing and scar tissue, further surgery may be required in the future.
  • Goals
    • Restore normal appearance and symmetry as best as possible and resolve nasal airway obstruction, improving air flow and breathing.
    • In complex nasal and septal fractures, a saddle-nose deformity is a known potential complication, causing a collapse of the bony structure. In these cases, a bone graft, which may be taken from a variety of places including the ribcage, the iliac crest or hip bone, or cadaveric graft, to maintain the structural integrity of the nasal bones.

Dominion Plastic Surgery proudly provides facial reconstruction to patients from Washington, DC, Bethesda and Potomac, MD, Falls Church, Arlington, and Alexandria, VA. Call  (703) 544-8971 or fill out a Contact Form here to schedule a consultation.