Facial Fracture 

You have a broken bone, or fracture, in your face. This may be a small crack in the bone. Or it may be a major break, with the bone moved out of place.

Depending on where the break is, you may have pain when you chew. You may also have nasal congestion, sinus pain, and nose bleeding. 

During the first 24 hours after injury, you may have swelling or bruising where the break is, or around your eyes. A blow to the face strong enough to cause a broken bone may also cause a concussion or more serious brain injury.

Home care

  • Use an ice pack on the injured area for no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Do this every 1 to 2 hours for the first 24 to 48 hours. Then use the ice pack as needed to ease pain and swelling. To make an ice pack, put ice cubes in a plastic bag that seals at the top. Wrap the bag in a clean, thin towel or cloth. Never put ice or an ice pack directly on the skin.

  • You may use over-the-counter pain medicine to control pain, unless another pain medicine was prescribed. Talk with your provider before using this medicine if you have chronic liver or kidney disease or a history of gastrointenstinal ulcers.

  • Sleep with your head raised on 2 or more pillows to ease swelling.

  • If you have facial pain when eating, don’t eat crunchy or chewy foods. A softer diet will be more comfortable for the first 2 to 3 weeks.

  • If you were given antibiotics to prevent an infection, take them as directed until you have finished the prescription.

  • If your nose bleeds, sit up and lean forward. Pinch your nostrils together for 10 to 15 minutes. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, keep pinching your nostrils and call your healthcare provider. Don’t blow your nose for 12 hours after the bleeding stops. This will allow a strong blood clot to form. Don’t pick your nose.

Special note on concussions

If you had any symptoms of a concussion today, don’t return to sports or any activity that could result in another head injury.

These are symptoms of a concussion:

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Dizziness

  • Confusion

  • Headache

  • Memory loss

  • Loss of consciousness

Wait until all of your symptoms are gone and your provider says it’s OK to resume your activity. Having a second head injury before you fully recover from the first one can lead to serious brain injury.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider in 1 week, or as advised. This is to make sure the bone is healing as it should.

If you had X-rays or CT scans taken, you will be told of any new findings that may affect your care.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Swelling or pain in your face that gets worse

  • Redness, warmth, or pus draining from the injured area

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Chills

  • Double vision

  • Nausea

Call 911

Call 911 if you have:

  • Repeated vomiting

  • Severe headache or dizziness

  • Headache or dizziness that gets worse

  • Abnormal drowsiness, or you are unable to wake up as usual

  • Confusion or change in behavior or speech

  • Convulsion, or seizure 

© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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