Can The Facial Asymmetry From A Cheekbone Fracture Be Fixed?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I had my cheekbone broken two years during an assault. At the time, I did not have it fixed by having plates inserted and it has since healed. My cheekbone is flatter on this side and my face is slightly asymmetrical and uneven. Since then, my friends misinterpret my facial expressions thinking I am smirking or grimacing when I am not. I am sensitive about my facial asymmetry and am wondering if it is worth the time and effort to repair. Thank you so much.

A: Cheekbone or zygomatic fractures display a classic pattern of displacement when fractured. The body of the cheekbone rotates down and inward with partial displacement into the maxillary sinus. This reduces the prominence of the cheek bone by this inferior rotation, making the cheek flatter and the face asymmetric. Primary surgical repair repositions the cheekbone back into place and holds it there with plates and screws. But once the fracture is healed, this is no longer a good option in most patients. Rather than moving the bone, it is usually better to treat the facial asymmetry with an implant to restore fullness to the cheekbone. This is a far simpler surgery than major zygomatic osteotomies and repositioning. A one-sided cheek implant is a simple surgery that takes 30 minutes of surgery and improves much of the aesthetic asymmetry of the fractured but healed cheekbone.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana