Facial plast Surg 2010; 26(6): 482-487
DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1267722
© Thieme Medical Publishers

Management of Facial Trauma: Lessons of War

Timothy J. McDonald1 , Manuel A. Lopez1
  • 1Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Wilford Hall Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
17 November 2010 (online)


Soft tissue trauma of the head and neck is encountered frequently by the battlefield head and neck surgeon. Repair of the soft tissue (as well as bony fractures) of the head and neck is undertaken with the intent of providing return of form and function to the injured patient. Aggressive management of head and neck wounds is necessary to prevent excessive tissue loss due to ischemia or infection. Fortunately, the battlefield head and neck surgeon is armed with an array of surgical advances including local, regional, and free tissue grafts as well as advances in wound care and wound care products to treat the head and neck trauma patient. Typical outcome measures after head and neck trauma include ability to speak with appropriate articulation, ability to swallow and breathe without difficulty, and acceptable facial cosmesis. Advances in timing of repair have enabled patients to return to a premorbid condition earlier with improved results.