Recognizing and managing them appropriately is crucial to ensure the best possible outcome for the patient. Here's what EMS providers need to know:
Start by assessing the patient's airway, breathing, and circulation (ABCs).
Be vigilant for signs of life-threatening injuries, such as airway compromise, respiratory distress, or severe bleeding.
Examine the face for deformities, swelling, and visible fractures.
La Forte Fractures:
La Forte fractures are complex facial fractures that involve the upper jaw (maxilla). They are classified into three types: Le Fort I, Le Fort II, and Le Fort III. These fractures may not always be obvious from the outside.
Le Fort I Fracture (Horizontal Fracture):
This fracture separates the maxilla from the rest of the face. The midface may be mobile, and the upper teeth may be mobile or displaced.
The patient may have pain in the upper jaw, and there may be bruising or swelling around the cheek and upper lip.
Le Fort II Fracture (Pyramidal Fracture):
This fracture involves the central part of the maxilla and extends up to the nasal bones.
The patient may have a floating midface, with mobility and deformity of the nose and upper jaw.
There may be a change in the appearance of the eyes, such as raccoon eyes (bruising around the eyes) or epistaxis (nosebleeds).
Le Fort III Fracture (Transverse Fracture):
This is the most severe and involves the entire midface, including the orbits (eye sockets).
The patient may have widely separated eyes, called telecanthus.
Check for visual disturbances or signs of injury to the eyes.
Focus on maintaining the airway and ensuring adequate ventilation. Patients with severe facial injuries can experience airway compromise due to swelling and bleeding.
Stabilize any obvious fractures with gentle manual pressure, if necessary.
Control any bleeding by applying direct pressure with sterile dressings.
Provide pain management as needed.
Transport the patient to the nearest appropriate medical facility, preferably one with a trauma center and maxillofacial surgery capabilities.
Continuous monitoring of vital signs is essential during transport.
Handle facial fractures with care to avoid worsening the injuries or causing further damage.
Avoid pressure on the eyes or the nose.
Immobilize the head and neck, especially if there is concern about cervical spine injuries.
Remember that prompt and appropriate care is crucial in managing facial injuries, as they can impact the patient's ability to breathe, see, eat, and speak.
Always follow local protocols and guidelines, and communicate effectively with the receiving hospital to ensure the best possible outcome for the patient.
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