When After Facial Fracture Repair Can The Plates And Screws Be Removed?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I met with a facial trauma seven months before and doctor have to put plates on my right zygoma bone and maxillary sinus and eye socket with 14 screws. But now I feel a lot of pain under my eye and cheek. So can removal of plates help me from getting an infection? What can be the right time to remove them? What can be complications in future? Will my bones have an adverse effect of it or they will remain healthy?

A: As a general rule, fixation hardware (plates and screws) are not removed after facial fracture repair unless there is a distinct problem. Such problems could be pain from device loosening or palpability or cold temperature transmission (usually around the eye area) Most facial plates and screws today are made of titanium which is very biocompatible and does not have any long-term issues such as corrosion or degradation. Because of the trauma of additional surgery, one therefore should have a compelling reason for removal. Should removal be necessary, they can safely be removed six months after the original repair surgery. Facial bones heal quickly and are very stable at that time.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

Can My Plates And Screws Be Removed From My Cheekbone And Orbital Fracture Repair?

Q: Dr. Eppley,  I had fracture of my cheekbone and eyesocket and four plates with eight screw were implant in my face…………..I want to ask can I remove these plates once if my fracture got healed??……Will there be any problem of refracture or any another problem after plate removal??

A: It sounds like you have a very typical zygomatico-orbital complex fracture which required three/four point fixation for anatomic realignment.There should be no problem with removing your fixation hardware 6 to 12 months after your original facial fracture repair. Facial bones generally heal completely by 6 months after surgery so removing them should not be a problem. Barring any future facial trauma, removing your plates and screws will cause the bones to collapse or refracture. Given the re-entry operative trauma to remove your hardware, there should be compelling reasons to do so such as uncomfortable palpability, cold temperature transmission or plate and screw loosening.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

 

Can I Have The Plates And Screws Removed After My Facial Fractures Have Healed?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I suffered facial injuries due to which my surgeon have to put two plates on my eye socket and two on my mandible fracture. I am 19 years old and I want to know can I remove these plates after my bones get fully healed?. Please reply to me as fast as you can.

A: Once the bones from facial fractures are healed, the indwelling metal plates and screws can be removed. As a general rule, that is six months after the initial injury and repair. Because it is another invasive surgery, there has to be a good reason to remove them. Palpability (I can feel them), cold temperature transmission (around the eye) or if they get loose and cause pain are all good reasons for their removal. But short of these reasons, there is no medical necessity to remove other than if having them out provides some psychological solace and a closure to why they needed to be put in there in the first place.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana