Prevalence of Facial Injuries
Caused by Trauma
Facial injuries are among the most common type of injuries sustained in car, bike, and pedestrian accidents. It is estimated that up to 70% of those involved in a motor vehicular accident suffer some type of facial injury. These include facial bone fractures, burns, eye trauma, soft tissue injuries, and lacerations as well as oral/dental trauma. Facial injuries frequently result in significant pain and often necessitate the costly services of a plastic surgeon. Those who suffer facial injuries are likely to be left with permanent scarring and sometimes disfiguring deformities, such as burn scars and skin grafts and sunken cheekbones resulting from bone fractures and loss of soft tissue.
Facial Scarring: An Especially
While any sort of disfigurement can be stigmatizing, facial scarring has been scientifically shown to be particularly traumatic.
In the past, there has been widespread misconceptions among the public—as well as the medical community—that facial scarring would have to be extensive and grossly disfiguring to result in poor self-image, depression and anxiety. Recent studies, however, dispel that myth. For example, research published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing showed that patients with minor facial lacerations resulting in scars as small as 1.5 cm or less can suffer significant psychological effects, including a chronic lowered sense of social self-consciousness and heightened levels of anxiety.
A more recent study published in 2010, showed a significant correlation between patients’ self-perception of facial disfigurement and anxiety and depression.
Physical, Emotional and Financial Consequences of Facial Scarring
Scarring reduces quality of life and can cause ongoing physical and emotional pain, serving as a blatant and inescapable reminder of the traumatic event that caused disfigurement. It can also have a devastating financial impact for people whose occupation depends on appearance, such as actors and models. In many ways, however, studies have shown that appearance is subconsciously factored into job recruitment decisions, performance evaluations and promotional opportunities. And while it is idealistic to believe that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” the stark reality is that facial trauma and the medical and surgical intervention to address it can adversely affect trauma victims negatively in a multitude of ways for a lifetime.
Written by Lyn Pickel