Maxillofacial injury is injury to the facial soft tissues, facial skeleton and associated specialised soft tissues within the head and neck as a result of wounding or external violence.
In Ireland there are about 1200 facial fractures per year (excluding nose fractures). The incidence of facial fractures continues to rise. The major cause of trauma to the facial area is inter-personal violence, with the incidence of injuries from road traffic accidents showing a decline in recent years.
The skeletal and soft tissue anatomy of the craniofacial region (head, face and neck) is complex and a specialist knowledge of the oral cavity(mouth), both anatomically and functionally, is essential for successful management of patients with facial injury.
Not all facial fractures require surgery. Injuries to the maxillofacial area are routinely treated by the technique of open reduction and internal fixation, using a variety of micro, mini and reconstruction plating systems. This has lead to early restoration of function and rapid rehabilitation, but there is no doubt that many serious facial injuries can cause permanent facial disfigurement and psychological distress with extensive soft tissue scarring. It is essential that all facial injuries are referred to the oral & maxillofacial surgeon.