Ear, Nose and Throat (Otolaryngology) – Head and Neck Surgery

Oral Trauma

Facial injuries and fractures of the facial skeleton often require immediate surgical attention. The oral and maxillofacial surgeons at the Mount Sinai Health System have specialized training and work closely with members of the trauma service, tending to and repairing injuries to the mouth, jaws, facial bones and skull.

The maxillofacial skeleton extends from the mandible to the skull base, encompassing a wide variety of important anatomic structures that provide a multitude of daily functions. Therefore the possibility of having a change in bite, vision, smell, taste, sensation, function and facial symmetry is common following significant maxillofacial trauma.

When this complex region is injured, many hard and soft tissues can be involved. From the relatively simple tooth fractures to severe facial or skull injuries, it is imperative for patients and their family members to seek treatment from highly skilled practitioners, such as the oral and maxillofacial surgeons at Mount Sinai, as the best possible outcomes depend on expertise in functional and esthetic reconstruction of this complex anatomical region.

Diagnosis and Treatment for Oral and Maxillofacial Trauma

The evaluation of complex maxillofacial injuries can be extensive and may require a series of tests including CT scans, MRI, angiograms, and blood tests. These tests are combined with a thorough physical exam to arrive at a diagnosis. Injuries might result in damage to the following structures:

  • Soft tissue
    • Muscle
    • Nerves
    • Salivary glands
    • Orbital contents
    • Oral –pharyngeal mucosa
  • Hard tissue
    • Bony fractures
    • Maxilla
    • Mandible
    • Nose
    • Orbit
    • Cranium

Traumatic injuries of this region often require surgical repair in the operating room under general anesthesia. Treatment may include soft tissue repair, temporary wiring the jaws, and the placement of plates and screws to re approximate fractured bones to provide for adequate healing and function. Every effort is made by Mount Sinai’s multidisciplinary trauma team to repair the injured tissue and restore it to its original state. Following surgery, patients typically return to their oral and maxillofacial surgeon to monitor the healing and functional recovery.