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