Facial Injuries in Athletes

Approximately 30% of facial injuries occur during sports activities. 75% of these injuries are seen in male athletes age between 10-29 years. 75% of facial bones fractures affect the zygoma, mandible and nasal bones. Maxillar central incisors are the most frequently injured teeth.

Approach to patient in head injuries

The patient’s airway, respiration and blood circulation should be checked first. Make sure that the airway is open. If necessary, a jaw thrust maneuver should be used. Airway patency can be difficult to achieve in unstable mandible fractures and some soft tissue trauma. Endotracheal tube should be used in unconscious patients. In very urgent cases, cricothyrotomy can be used.

Imaging Studies

X-ray radiograhy. It is generally not preferred for facial bone fractures because it does not contribute much to clinical examination. However, it can still be used under the necessary conditions.

CT and MRI: They are superior to X-ray radiography and are successful in revealing abnormal anatomical structures, especially in pediatric patient groups. Imaging techniques are very helpful in revealing the severity of the injury and in developing the treatment plan when necessary. It is possible to benefit from 3D CT in diagnosis. While CT is generally used for bone fractures, MRI is superior to tissue trauma. It is also useful in revealing the vessel structure.

The most common facial injuries

Otitis Externa (swimmer’s ear)

The structure of the ear canal is disrupted. Athletes engaged in water sports are at risk, usually caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Staphylococcus aureus. The outer ear canal is swollen and inflamed. Discharge can come from the ear. In the treatment of ear remnants, quinolone group antibiotic drops are the first drugs that can be used. If Pseudomonas infection is present, oral antibiotic therapy should be reviewed. The patient should not swim until symptoms disappear.

How to Prevent Otisis Externa

Immediately after swimming, the ears should be dried and, hairdryers should be used. The use of a combination of alcohol and vinegar can be used to reduce the moisture in the ear.

Tympanic Membrane Perforation

Tear of the eardrum occurs as a result of sudden pressure changes such as skydiving and scuba diving. Sudden hearing loss is seen, and the tympanic membrane is torn open. Most patients show improvement within 2-3 weeks. In order to prevent this situation, ear plugs should be used in water sports and spores that cause sudden pressure changes should be avoided.

Nasal Fracture

It occurs as a result of trauma to the nose. 50% of all facial fractures are nasal fractures. Nasal bleeding, nasal asymmetry, swelling and nasal airway obstruction are seen as findings. Radiograph always shows fracture if broken bone is between cartilage.

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