Maxillofacial trauma encompasses all major soft tissue injuries and fractures of the facial region. Major facial fractures often do not present in isolation but as part of a multi-system trauma seen in high speed motor vehicle collisions, occasional assaults, workplace-related, and other accidental injuries. Not uncommonly, these patients are managed by various teams including plastic & maxillofacial surgery, ENT, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, orthopaedic surgery, trauma surgery, and intensive care. The optimal care for these patients is therefore not considered in isolation but as a well-coordinated effort by several teams, and carefully-planned sequence of surgical interventions.
Dr Quan Ngo is the Head of the Department of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Maxillofacial Trauma at Liverpool Hospital which is one of Australia’s busiest trauma centres dealing with an average 300 facial fracture cases annually. Dr Ngo has a special interest in 3D model-based planning and treatment for facial fractures as well as endoscopic surgery for jaw fractures. For complex cases, Dr Ngo organises live planning sessions with specialist 3D engineers in the US, Belgium, and Singapore to formulate a surgical plan that can be executed in the operating theatre with precision. Liverpool Hospital Plastic Surgery Department is one of the early adopters of the 3D-printing technology and has an in-house 3D printing facility to accelerate the process.
Acute fractures have a limited time to fix as the healing process starts to take place immediately after injury. As such if you have a suspected facial fracture, you need to be seen by an appropriate specialist as soon as possible to determine the nature of the injury and whether surgery is indicated.