Facial Trauma

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Introduction

Maxillofacial injuries occur for a variety of reasons related to sports participation. While most sports-related facial injuries are minor, the potential for serious damage exists. Whether it involves contact between players (head, fist, elbow), with equipment (balls, pucks, handlebars), or with environment, obstacles, or playing surface (wrestling mat, gymnastic equipment, goalposts, trees), fractures of the facial bones require a significant amount of force. A physician examining these injuries must rapidly assess the patient, allowing for prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment, while considering the physical demands of the sport and the possibility of “return to play.”

Soft Tissue Injuries

In a recent 1-year review of maxillofacial sports injuries, soft tissue injuries were found to be the most common injury. Up to 76% of the athletes reported lacerations. These injuries frequently occur because of poorly designed protective equipment or no protective equipment at all.