Cheek Bone (Zygoma) Fractures

Illustration of a cheek bone fracture

Cheek bone fractures are common facial injuries which may be caused by fall, altercations and car accidents. Cheek bone fractures if displaced, should be addressed surgically soon after the occurrence. If left untreated, these fractures can disturb visual acuity, cause infections, inability to open the mouth and perhaps other serious complications.

If you were involved in an accident, fall, altercation or reasons to believe you may have facial injuries, decided not to go to the hospital or your hospital discharged you and advised to see a surgeon, we have dedicated many sections of our website explaining the the type of facial injuries and what you should do as a patient when you seek a surgeon specialized in treatment of facial injuries.

Who you should see if you have a suspected or know cheekbone injury?

First and foremost, we hope that you have been evaluated and screened for other cranial and body injuries. Dr. Bolourian typically sees patients in the emergency room for an initial evaluation for cheekbone fractures. In many instances, if there are no other concomitant injuries, the patient may be discharged home and given a referral to see us. This approach is acceptable, since we usually want to wait for the initial traumatic swelling to subside before we make decision on surgery. Typically a specialist in Maxillofacial surgery is the person performing surgeries to treat broken cheekbones. Dr. Bolourian is a dual degree maxillofacial surgeon with over 20 years of experience in treating facial injuries.

If you need surgery, what is involved in the procedure?

There are three components to the cheekbone complex and that is why this bone is called tripod. The bone attaches in the front of our face or the upper jaw bone. On the side, it makes the prominence of our cheeks called zygoma and above the eye, the cheek bone attaches to the forehead bone also known as frontozygomatic suture line. To treat the cheekbone fracture adequately, two of the three bone attachments should be fixated. This ensures facial symmetry and prevention of fracture relapse.

facial trauma patient

What if you elect not to have surgery? What can go wrong?

Some cheek bone fractures that are not displaced and don’t pose risks of facial deformities or functional disturbances may not require surgery. Therefore, it is very important for you, the patient with facial fractures to be evaluated by a surgeon experienced in facial trauma surgery and treatments.

If surgery is indicated and you elect not to have surgery, there are consequences you should be aware of. With Zygoma (cheek bone) fractures, you may be pain free for a while and after a few days or weeks, you realize, you have limited mouth opening (trismus) and pain and possible facial or sensory nerve damage. This is common with displaced cheek bone fractures. If the fractures heal in a broken position, then your surgeon may require to take more aggressive approach to repair the broken bones.

Would you be in pain after broken cheekbone surgery?

Tenderness and mild pain is common after facial bone surgery. You will be on pain medications for a short period until you get through the initial phase of healing. Dr. Bolourian will make sure you are comfortable throughout your healing process.

What is the recovery from having broken cheekbone surgery?

Broken cheek bone surgery require a minimum of 5-7 days of recovery. For approximately 10 days or as long as Dr. Bolourian deems necessary, you will be required to follow strict prescribed care given to you by Dr. Bolourian.