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Face looks misshapen or swollen after an injury

It is normal to have some swelling when you have had an injury. Home treatment can often help reduce swelling.

Sometimes swelling will make your face look misshapen. If the misshapen appearance is caused by swelling only, your appearance will return to normal as the swelling goes down. Home treatment measures can help reduce swelling.

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A cheek or jaw that looks misshapen after a facial injury may mean you have:

  • A fracture, such as a broken jaw, broken cheekbone, or other broken facial bone.
  • A dislocated jaw. This can occur when the lower jawbone (mandible) is pulled apart from one or both of the joints connecting it to the base of the skull at the temporomandibular (TM) joints.

Swelling is more serious when:

  • A lot of swelling or bruising develops rapidly, within 30 minutes of an injury. This is more likely to mean a severe bruise, a broken bone (fracture), or a torn muscle.
  • Swelling continues and does not improve with home treatment.
  • Swelling and pain increase and occur with redness, red streaking, warmth, fever, or drainage that looks like pus. This can mean an infection has developed at or near the site of the injury or in the salivary glands.
Author Jan Nissl, RN, BS
Editor Susan Van Houten, RN, BSN, MBA
Associate Editor Tracy Landauer
Primary Medical Reviewer William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Updated May 11, 2009

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 11, 2009
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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