Complex-Type Penetrating Injuries of Craniomaxillofacial Region

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Craniofacial traumas are one of the most common clinical events of the 21st century. The possibility of associated injuries of the head and neck may also determine functional and cosmetic problems in these patients. The most frequent pathologic conditions observed are contusions, lacerations, abrasions, avulsions, and the inclusion of foreign bodies. In particular, penetrating injuries represent a rare but complex variety of craniofacial trauma. Generally, the penetrating material is stiff enough to cross through different anatomic structures during a particularly violent collision caused by a road or work accident or during an attack. The therapeutic strategy adopted for this type of patient depends mainly on diagnostic procedures such as skull radiograms in different projections, computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and, occasionally, echotomography. However, on arrival at the emergency department, the clinical conditions of the patient will determine the type of investigation to be carried out. Last, to prevent any postoperative infections, wide spectrum antibiotic therapy is advisable. Ideally, imaging should be repeated postoperatively to confirm resolution of the initial clinical condition. In this article, the authors describe three unusual clinical cases of patients with penetrating injuries of the head and face together with the protocol adopted for treatment of such complex craniofacial injuries. The three cases described demonstrate that, despite the initial appearance of penetrating wounds, a correct diagnostic assessment followed by a suitable therapeutic protocol can reduce cosmetic and functional defects to a minimum.

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