Facial Fracture: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

You have broken (fractured) one or more bones in your face. Swelling and bruising from the injury are likely to get worse over the first couple of days. After that, the swelling should steadily improve until it is gone. If you have bruises on your face, they may change as they heal. The skin may turn from black and blue to green to yellow or brown before it returns to its normal colour. It may take several weeks for your injury to heal.

It is very important that you get follow-up care as directed so that the injury heals properly and does not lead to problems. The kind of care and treatment you will need depends on the specific type of break (or breaks) you have.

You heal best when you take good care of yourself. Eat a variety of healthy foods, and don't smoke.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Put ice or a cold pack on your injury for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next 3 days (when you are awake) or until the swelling goes down. Put a thin cloth between the ice pack and your skin.
  • Go to all follow-up appointments with your doctor. Your doctor will determine whether you need further treatment, including surgery.
  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them exactly as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Keep your head elevated when you sleep.
  • Eat soft food to decrease jaw pain.
  • Do not blow your nose. Dab it with a tissue if you need to.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have a seizure.
  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have tingling, weakness, or numbness on one side of your body.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have a severe headache.
  • You develop double vision.
  • You have a fever and stiff neck.
  • Clear, watery fluid drains from your nose.
  • You feel dizzy or light-headed.
  • You have new eye pain or changes in your vision, such as blurring.
  • You have new ear pain, ringing in your ears, or trouble hearing.
  • You are confused, irritable, or not acting normally.
  • You have a hard time standing, walking, or talking.
  • You have new mouth or tooth pain, or you have trouble chewing.
  • You have increasing pain even after you have taken your pain medicine.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You develop a cough, cold, or sinus infection.
  • The symptoms from your injury are not steadily improving.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: October 14, 2016