Facial Bone Fractures: Types, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options


A fracture is a break or crack in a bone resulting from trauma, stress, or underlying medical conditions requiring medical attention. A facial fracture is a break or fracture in the bones of the face, including the nose, jaw, cheekbones, or eye sockets. It typically occurs due to trauma or accidents and can cause pain, swelling, and deformity, requiring medical evaluation and treatment.

Facial bones are thinner and delicate compared to the bones of other parts of the body. They are more prone to getting injured in an accident, sports injury, or a sudden fall. Facial bones can also be broken due to domestic violence and similar incidences.

Types of Facial Bone Fractures

Mentioned below are different types of facial fractures that can happen due to an external injury

    • Nasal Fractures– It is a common form of fracture and is usually observed with other forms of facial fractures. A nasal fracture is usually observed in the nasal bones. The fracture leads to swelling of the nasal area along with bruises. The injured individual may not be able to breathe comfortably in case of severe injuries. A forceful blow on the nose is also enough to break the nasal bones.
    • Orbital Fractures– The breaking of bones around the eyes due to an external injury, causing damage to other bones of the face, is known as orbital fracture. The fracture can occur due to a blow on the face or a motor accident. The fracture causes injury to the eye, leading to issues in the vision. The form of fracture can be identified by symptoms such as bruising around the eyes, blurry vision, facial numbness, swelling, or a change in the eyeball structure.
    • Zygomatic Fractures– Also known as cheekbone fractures in layman’s language, the fracture should be treated immediately to avoid disruption in the appearance of other facial bones. Broken cheekbones should be treated to avoid spreading the infection to other facial bones. A cheekbone is attached to the front portion of the face and the bones above the eyes and the forehead. A cheekbone surgery should be done considering the fixture of the mentioned bones to avoid disturbance in the appearance of the facial bones.

Other facial fractures are

    • Maxillary Fractures- Affecting the upper jawbone (maxilla).
    • Mandibular Fractures- Affecting the lower jawbone (mandible).
    • Zygomatic Fractures- Involving the cheekbones (zygomatic bones).
    • Le Fort Fractures- Complex fractures that affect multiple facial bones, categorised into three types (Le Fort I, II, and III).
    • Frontal Bone Fractures- Involving the forehead (frontal bone).

A CT-scan showing multiple facial fractures

Diagnosis of Facial Bone Fractures 

Mentioned below are a few methods that help to identify any form of face fracture and allow the healthcare provider to suggest proper medication and treatment:

    • Clinical Description– Similar to any form of diagnosis, a doctor asks for the reason for the facial fracture from the patient. Description of the incident causing the facial fracture helps the doctor gather the required information and is also helpful for the analysis of the injury. The doctor checks the bones near the nose, forehead, and eyes to see for an injury. It helps to identify the form of fracture and suggest the proper treatment. The doctor also gently presses on the injured area to understand the injury’s severity.

Imaging Studies- Medical imaging is usually necessary to confirm the diagnosis and assess the extent of the fracture. Common imaging modalities include

  • X-rays: X-rays are commonly used to evaluate facial fractures, especially nasal and mandibular fractures. They provide detailed images of the bones, helping to identify fractures, their location, and alignment.
  • CT Scans (Computed Tomography): CT scans offer more comprehensive imaging of facial bones, including detailed 3D views. They are particularly valuable for assessing complex fractures or those involving multiple bones, such as Le Fort fractures or orbital fractures.
  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): While less commonly used for diagnosing facial fractures, MRIs may be employed in specific cases, such as assessing soft tissue injuries, and nerve damage or evaluating fractures not well visualised by other methods.
  • Panoramic Radiographs- These specialised dental X-rays provide a broad view of the upper and lower jaws and are often used to assess dental and jawbone fractures.
  • Endoscopy- In cases where there may be associated injuries to the nasal passages, sinuses, or throat, an endoscopy (insertion of a thin, flexible tube with a camera) may be used to assess the internal structures.

A CT scan showing a facial fracture before and after medical intervention

Treatment Options for Facial Bone Fractures

Mentioned below are some of the treatment methods to treat facial bone fractures:

    • Closed Reduction– Fixing a fractured facial bone without any surgical procedure, cuts, or incisions is known as closed reduction. The method involves placing the misplaced facial bone without surgery to allow the bone to function the required way. The orthopaedic surgeon performing the treatment ensures that the bones are appropriate and obstructs unnecessary movement for proper healing.
    • Open Reduction– The procedure involves surgery to locate the facial fracture and treat it accordingly. The surgery helps settle dislocated bones and allows an individual to perform different facial functions efficiently.
    • Facial Reconstructive Surgery– A severe facial trauma requires facial reconstructive surgery. The surgery involves ensuring the proper function of different facial bones injured due to the accident and also enhancing the appearance of the damaged facial bones.
    • Sinus Surgery- Complex fractures involving the paranasal sinuses may require surgical intervention to restore proper sinus function and prevent infection.
    • Nasal Packing- For nasal fractures with significant bleeding, nasal packing may control and stabilise the septum.
    • Soft Tissue Repair- In addition to addressing bone fractures, soft tissue injuries such as lacerations or damage to the skin and muscles may also require surgical repair.

When to Consult a Doctor

You can also get in touch with the expert Ortho doctors at Narayana Healthcare based in your city to get immediate attention and medical support during injuries, health disorders or any other health concern.


Facial bone fractures occur due to a severe accident, violence, or sports injury. The injury can cause facial bones to misalign, leading to difficulties operating facial features. Different types of facial fracture treatment help to quickly recover from a facial fracture.


Q. What are facial bone fractures?
Injury to the facial bones caused due to an accident or sports injury is known as facial bone fractures.

Q. What are the different types of facial bone fractures?
Nasal fractures, forehead fractures, cheekbone fractures, and orbital fractures are a few forms of facial fractures.

Q. How is facial bone fracture diagnosed?
Facial bone fractures are diagnosed through clinical evaluation, medical imaging (such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs), and sometimes endoscopy. These methods help assess the fracture’s location, type, and severity.

Q. How are facial bone fractures treated?
Facial bone fractures are treated based on their location and severity. Treatment may involve immobilisation with braces, surgery to reset and fix the bones, or a combination of both approaches.

Reference Links

    • https://www.narayanahealth.org/blog/all-you-need-to-know-about-bells-palsy/
    • https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16025-facial-fractures
Narayana Health

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