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Does an Orbital Fracture Require Surgery?

Orbital fractures, also referred to as eye socket fractures, usually occur from blunt trauma to the face. If the impact is severe enough, it can cause breakages of the orbital bone and potentially trap eye tissues or muscles in the bone fragments. When left untreated, orbital trauma can lead to serious functional eye issues and disabilities, so it’s important to see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible. They will be able to evaluate the range of vision, eye mobility, eye pressure, and orbital bone structure damage to determine if orbital fracture surgery or an alternative intervention may be necessary.

What Is Orbital Fracture Surgery?

Orbital fracture surgery is a procedure that repairs eye socket fractures, generally with the use of an artificial bone implant. The procedure may also involve releasing facial tissues or muscles that are caught in the fracture site. Typically an outpatient procedure, orbital fracture surgery usually takes less than one hour and can be performed by a highly skilled oculoplastic surgeon.

Whether or not an orbital fracture may require surgery can be assessed based on the severity of symptoms and/or the results of a computerized tomography (CT) scan. If any of the following concerns develop from facial/orbital trauma, it may be cause for orbital fracture surgery: 

Other symptoms to be aware of include unrelenting pain around the eye area, nausea and vomiting, numbness in the surrounding eye area down to the lower face, and severe swelling or drooping of the eyelid. These may be signs of a more serious orbital injury and should be examined further.

Alternatively, if the orbital fracture is determined to be mild, surgery may not be necessary and injuries can be managed with ice packs, rest, OTC pain medication, and antibiotics, as needed.

Our Bethesda, MD and Northern VA oculoplastic surgeon, Dr. Albert Cytryn, is an expert at post-trauma orbital reconstruction and is extensively versed in how to avoid potential complications related to these complex injuries. If you are suffering from possible symptoms of an orbital fracture, please contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Cytryn.