Should I Have Surgery To Try And Fix Problems From My Zygomatic Fracture?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I have an untreated zygomatic fracture after trauma from 3.5 years ago. My cheek is about 2mm flatter than the other side. The position of the eye looks normal and I have very little compression of the infraorbtial nerve, so little that I think it’s still “fully alive”. The feeling of the V2 nerve area its completely ok with maybe a little paresthesia when I push on it. I am now in the process of doing  a CT and EMG of the nerve. As soon as i will get the results of the tests I'm going to consider surgery. What about the infraorbital nerve issue during surgery? Possibility of permanent damage? Is it better to have 90% of feeling without surgery than 0-10% after operation?

A: If I interpret your condition properly you have minimal displacement of the zygoma and 90% to 95% normal function of the infraorbital nerve. (minimal nerve compression)  With these minimal ‘problems’ I would question why undergo any surgery at all for these minor potential improvements. But if you were to do something, the treatment should match the magnitude of the problem. The zygomatic deficiency would be treated with a very small cheek implant not an osteotomy. The nerve would be released from around the foramen by a small foraminotomy. These two procedures have little risk of worsening the problems while providing the potential for correction of the aesthetic and neurological sequelae from your initial injury.

Dr. Barry Eppley
Indianapolis, Indiana