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Malar and Orbital Fractures

Malar and orbital fractures are fractures in the bones of the cheeks and around the eyes. The orbits - the areas immediately around the eyes - are very often affected when a facial fracture occurs. The malar bones, too, can fracture when impacted with force. These fractures can involve a simple break in the orbital bone, or a more complex situation in which the bones splinter into many pieces. The surgeon will conduct a very thorough assessment, often using a CT scan, to determine the extent of the damage to the face.

Fractures can impact the sinuses or the nose - this can cause fluid build-up that can make breathing difficult. Both of these fractures can cause severe swelling of the face, including the nose, which can also get in the way of breathing. The surgeon will make sure that immediate issues such as breathing, and other medical concerns, are controlled before treating a patient's facial fractures. The surgeon will also examine the eyes to make sure the impact has not damaged them.

Treatment

Like other fractures to the face, treating malar and orbital fractures requires first replacing the bones in their correct position, and then stabilizing them so that they can grow back together.

Particularly when the fracture is complex and the bone has broken into several pieces, this process might require "open reduction," which means surgically exposing the bone and re-positioning the fractured pieces with the use of small screws and plates that are attached directly to the bone. Bone grafts, either synthetic or from elsewhere in the body, may also be used to provide added support for fractures.

Because orbital and nasal fractures do not usually affect the jaw, dietary restrictions during recovery are not necessary in most cases.

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