Zygoma Fracture

What is Zygoma Fracture

Zygoma fracture is a break in one of the bones in your face. Your zygoma forms the part of your cheekbone that you can feel under your eye. The main part of your zygoma meets the bone that forms the middle part of your face (maxillary bone) under your eye.

Your zygoma also has an arched part that extends along the side of your face to meet the bone that forms the side of your head (temporal bone).

A zygoma fracture may involve the main part of the bone, the arch of the bone, or both parts of the bone.

What are the causes of Zygoma Fracture?

A zygoma fracture is most often caused by injury or trauma from:

  • A car accident.
  • A direct blow to the face.
  • A sports injury.
  • A fall.

Risks?

You may be more likely to have a zygoma fracture if:

  • You participate in contact sports.
  • You are a victim of violence or participate in violent activities or behaviors.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a zygoma fracture include:

  • Swelling.
  • Bruising.
  • Pain.
  • Difficulty or pain when chewing.
  • A feeling that your teeth are out of line.

As swelling goes down, your face may look different because your cheekbone is flat or set back (depressed). If the fracture extends into bones that supports your eye (blowout fracture), you may have double vision or numbness in your cheek.

How is zygoma fracture diagnosed?

Your health care provider may suspect a zygoma fracture based on your symptoms, especially if you had a recent injury. Your health care provider will perform a physical exam to check your cheekbone area and feel whether your zygoma is depressed or separated. Your health care provider may also do other tests to confirm the diagnosis and check for other injuries. These may include:

  • X-rays.
  • CT scan.
  • Eye exam.

How is zygoma fracture treated?

Treatment depends on the type of fracture you have and how severe it is. You may have to wait for treatment until the swelling and inflammation decreases.

  • If you have a fracture that does not cause any deformity or change in your chewing (non-displaced fracture), you may not need treatment.
  • If you have trouble opening your mouth or you have a cheekbone deformity (displaced fracture), you may need surgery. Surgery may involve either:
    • A closed reduction. A small surgical cut (incision) is made inside your mouth or on the side of your head. The surgeon inserts a smooth, blunt surgical instrument through the incision to lift the bone back into proper position.
    • An open reduction. This may require a small incision over the fracture site. The fracture is put back into proper position. It will be held in place with wires or with screws and metal plates.

Follow these instructions at home:

  • Take medicines only as directed by your health care provider.
  • Ask your health care provider whether you can use an ice pack on your cheek to relieve swelling before or after surgery. If directed, apply ice to the injured area:
    • Put ice in a plastic bag.
    • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.
    • Leave the ice on for 20 minutes, 2–3 times per day.
  • Eat a soft or liquid diet until your health care provider says it is okay for you to chew.
  • Wash and dry your face gently.
  • Do not participate in activities that put you at risk for injuring the area again.
  • Wear protective gear as directed by your health care provider, especially when participating in sports or activities that put you at risk for re-injury.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as directed by your health care provider. This is important.

Contact a health care provider if:

  • Pain or inflammation does not decrease with medicines.
  • Swelling or bruising of the injured area gets worse.
  • You develop any vision problems.
  • You have a lot of clear watery discharge from your nose.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have nausea or vomiting.

Get help right away if:

  • You have trouble moving your mouth.
  • You have trouble breathing or swallowing.
  • You develop a severe headache.