Management of soft-tissue trauma to the face

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The management of acute soft-tissue trauma can be very challenging for the facial plastic surgeon. The goals of management of facial trauma are the preservation of form and function. These goals are particularly important in facial soft-tissue trauma, where injuries can cause not only esthetic deformities but also can affect neural function, normal mastication, visual fields, and salivary outflow. This article outlines the evaluation and treatment of acute soft-tissue facial trauma. The key components include allowing for the stabilization of the patient, complete examination of the injury and face, thorough wound irrigation and debridement of necrotic tissue, preservation of all viable tissue, tension-free closure, and realignment of important facial esthetic structures. Special consideration must be given to injuries of functional structures such as the facial nerve, ductal systems or organs, and ensuring appropriated management of these structures.

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