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Face and Jaw Surgery

Protection after facial trauma

05/30/2007

Question:

My 1 year old shattered his nasal bone and also has multiple fractures above his nose and forehead. Is there any protective gear that he can wear to protect him while the bones are healing and to prevent any further damamge?

Answer:

Children's noses differ significantly from those of adults. The soft, compliant bone and cartilages of a child's nose bend easily during blunt trauma. The fractures are usually incomplete (greenstick fractures). Your one year old with significantly shattered nasal bones is highly unusual with blunt injuries and falls. The bones heal in about 3 to 4 weeks in children of such age. In addition, the nose does not project as much from the face as compared to adults, hence is protected naturally from a majority of injuries.

Childhood play, motor vehicle accidents, and child abuse are common causes of pediatric maxillofacial injuries. General precautions from injuries, such as face hitting the edge of the table or chair, is all that is required during the healing of facial injuries. They do not require any special precautions or facial protection from routine falls during walking, running, etc. after 3 to 4 weeks post injury. Clear facial masks and face shields for children are available during outdoor games for children above two to three years. It would of minimal value for your child for most of the activities at his age.

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Response by:

Likith V Reddy, MD, DDS, FACS Likith V Reddy, MD, DDS, FACS
Formerly:
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati