This is your standard ARCHIVE page

  • Will I have to come back to hospital?

    Before you leave hospital we will make a review appointment for you. We will keep a close eye on you for a few months after treatment to make sure that your cheekbone heals properly.

    When we put plates and screws in your cheekbone to hold it in position, we do not usually take these out unless they cause problems. They are made of titanium, a type of metal that does not set off metal detectors in airports. You can still have MRI scans.

    If you had stitches in your face, you need to go to your GP surgery a
    week after surgery to have them taken out.

    If you had any stitches inside your mouth, they usually dissolve and do not need taking out. They can take up to two weeks or longer to dissolve.

  • How long will I need to take off work?

    It depends on what type of job you do. You may need to take about
    two weeks off work and avoid hard exercise.

    Do not play contact sports for three months after surgery.

    You can start gentle exercise after two weeks.

  • Can I brush my teeth?

    It is important that you keep your mouth as clean as possible for the first few weeks after surgery, to prevent infection. It will be sore and you may find it difficult to clean your teeth around the stitches. Try using a soft small-headed toothbrush, such as a child’s.

    Starting the day after your surgery, gently rinse your mouth with
    mouthwash or warm salt water (dissolve a flat teaspoon of table salt in a cup of warm water) three times a day for five to seven days, to keep it free from food remains. We will give you mouthwash to start using in hospital and to take home with you. Please note that mouthwash does not replace brushing your teeth.

    It is important that you do not smoke because it makes you more likely to develop an infection. If you would like advice on how to stop smoking please speak to a nurse.

  • What can I eat and drink?

    You may find it more comfortable to eat a soft diet for the first few days after surgery, as chewing hard foods may feel a bit sore.

  • What happens after surgery?

    The nurses may check your eyes and sight frequently after your operation.Before you go home you may have an x-ray to check the
    position of your repaired cheekbone.

    The area we operated on is likely to be sore so we will give you painkillers to ease the pain. The discomfort is usually worse for the first few days and it may take a couple of weeks to go away completely.

    Although cheekbone fractures usually heal without infection, we may need to give you antibiotics, particularly if we have used a mesh or implant.

    At first we may need to give you antibiotics through a vein in your arm (intravenously) while you are in hospital. We will also give you painkillers and a course of antibiotics to take at home.

    You will have some swelling and bruising around your eyelids.

    Sometimes the whites of your eyes will become bruised and look red. You will see these changes most in the first 24 hours after surgery and they will have gone down a lot by the end of the second week.

    You can help to reduce the swelling and bruising by using a cold compress, such as an ice pack wrapped in a cloth or a towel, and sleeping propped upright for the first few nights after surgery.

    It takes about six weeks for your cheekbone to heal completely. During this time you must be careful not to injure this side of your face because it may push the bones out of place again.

    You should also avoid blowing your nose on the side of the fracture for a month after surgery because this can cause swelling in and around your eye.

    It is important to keep any stitches or dressings dry until they are removed.

  • What happens during surgery?

    We will give you a general anaesthetic. Once you are asleep, we will put your cheekbone back in the right place and fix it using plates and screws.

    The surgeon will make a cut (incision) on the inside of your mouth through the gum above your back teeth.

    They may also make one or more other cuts:

    • Close to the outside end of your eyebrow or upper eyelid
    • On the skin crease just below your lower eyelashes or on the inside of your lower eyelid, or
    • On the side of your scalp

    These cuts are closed with stitches at the end of the operation.

    If the floor of your eye socket is broken, the surgeon will make a cut on the inside or outside of your lower eyelid, as described above.

    Sometimes, the bones in the floor of your eye socket are shattered and do not support your eyeball properly, even if they are put back in the right place. If this has happened, we may need to rebuild the floor of your eye socket to support your eyeball. This involves using a graft, usually a piece of mesh made of titanium or dissolvable plastic, or a specifically made implant. We will discuss this with you before you sign the consent form.

  • When to come in for surgery

    The Admissions Officer will ask you to come to a named ward at a set time, usually at 7.30am on the morning of your operation.

    Please arrive on time. If you do not arrive on the ward on time, we may cancel your operation.

  • What happens before surgery?

    We will ask you to come to the pre-assessment clinic for some screening tests. These include MRSA screening, taking a blood sample and checking your blood pressure, height and weight.

    We may also ask you to come to an appointment in the orthoptics department. This is so we can check and note your eye movements and sight before any surgery.

  • How will the break be treated?

    We will give you an appointment to see a Consultant in the Maxillofacial Trauma Clinic. This appointment is usually five to seven days after you injured yourself.

    They will decide if you need an operation to mend the break and agree a date with you for surgery. This will be about two weeks after the injury, to give the swelling in your face time to go down.

    All cheekbone breaks also lead to a break in the floor of your eye socket and we sometimes need to treat this as well.

    You will have a general anaesthetic for your surgery so you will be completely asleep.

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    Nicholas Lee: Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon, Sheffield UK