Being involved in a car accident is a terrifying event. Often, you feel lucky to just be alive afterward. But some accidents result in injuries that are so severe that they are disfiguring. Such an accident can result from a fault airbag that fails to deploy or not wearing a seatbelt and being thrown around and possibly out of the vehicle. It is not uncommon in accidents like these to suffer deep facial cuts, or lacerations, bruising, and even broken facial bones. In this article, we’ll discuss types of facial lacerations and their treatment after a car accident, or other type of accident.
One of the most difficult things to manage after a facial laceration injury is the emotional pain you must deal with for having your face temporarily or permanently changed. Our face is how others identify us. It, among many other things, is what makes us unique from any other person. We do so much to maintain our appearance – makeup, facial hair, clean, straight teeth – that to suffer a disfiguring facial injury is often not only physically but mentally catastrophic.
Unlike lacerations and injuries to other parts of the body, you can’t easily hide a facial injury. If you have a severe laceration on your thigh, you can easily cover that up by wearing pants or skirts. Not so for a facial laceration.
How a repair is performed for a cut on the face will depend greatly on where the cut is located, how deep the cut is, and what type of a cut it is. A laceration can occur on the forehead, lips, cheeks, nose, or around the eyes – basically any facial area is at risk.
Severity of facial lacerations run the gamut from the most minor, linear cut that would leave a very light scar to a jagged, deep cut where facial flesh may be missing, and would result in gross facial disfiguration. When tears occur in the flesh that are not linear, complex cosmetic surgery may be required to not only close up the wound, but preserve as much of the facial structure as possible. Often, severe disfigurement is unavoidable, and several surgeries may be needed to restore the facial structure.
Another type of very complex facial laceration is called a burst-type laceration. This type of injury occurs when someone is struck with great force by a blunt object and there are several lacerations that radiate outward from a central point of impact. This type of injury would occur in a car accident if, for example, an airbag failed to deploy, and the face impacted the steering wheel. A burst-type laceration requires intensive reconstructive surgery.
When the facial lacerations also involve injuries to the underlying tissues such as muscles, fatty tissues, tendons, nerves, and blood vessels, immediate emergency surgery will be required. Because of the high number of blood vessels and veins that run to and from the facial area, blood loss in the event of a damaged artery can be significant. Emergency surgery is generally performed to repair the most severe and life-threatening facial lacerations, and reconstructive surgeries may be performed later when the victim is stable.
Facial reconstruction surgery is a complex and precise surgery that may end up costing tens of thousands of dollars or more. The reason for this is fairly obvious: people want the least amount of scarring and disfiguration possible. Multiple surgeries may be required to heal certain areas of the face first, and then move on to other areas that need cosmetic reconstruction. The need for multiple surgeries is typical for those suffering severe facial laceration injuries.
If the lacerations aren’t severe, and the cut or cuts are linear in nature, simple sutures may suffice, and won’t leave too much scarring. Of course, this depends on the area of the face the injuries affect, as we’ve discussed.
The length of time it takes to heal facial lacerations varies greatly. Much depends on the severity of the cuts, and also where they’re located on the face. A cut to the cheek will heal quicker than the same type of cut to the lips, because the lips typically move more, making healing slower. Of course, a linear laceration with clean borders will heal quicker than jagged, torn skin. There isn’t a guideline when it comes to the time facial lacerations will take to completely heal, as there are simply too many variables to consider.
Complications that can occur with facial lacerations include hematoma, which can result in deformity if not treated promptly, infection, wound edge necrosis, retained foreign body, and loss of function due to nerve damage.
When you’ve suffered severe facial lacerations due to the trauma involved in a car accident, you will likely have many costly medical bills to pay. If the accident you were involved in wasn’t your fault, you are entitled to compensation from the negligent party to pay your medical bills and treatment costs related to your injuries. You are also entitled to lost wages if you’ve missed work, and compensation for the pain and suffering you’ve had to endure.
At Sevey, Donahue & Talcott, we understand the stress that comes with injuries, mounting medical bills, and pain. We invite you to come in for a free consultation to discuss your case. We will offer you an assessment of your case based on our decades of experience in personal injury law. You can reach us by phone at (916) 788-7100 to discuss your legal options.