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Zygomatic Orbital Fracture Follow-up

  • Author: Stuart Seiff, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Hampton Roy, Sr, MD  more...
Updated: Aug 19, 2014

Further Outpatient Care

Follow-up care is essential for the evaluation of surgical success. Masticatory function, globe position, and restoration of normal facial anatomy are all important elements that need to be critically addressed in the postoperative period.[15]


Inpatient & Outpatient Medications

Most surgeons place patients on oral antibiotics and oral pain medications; they often order a short course of oral steroids as well.



The complications of an inadequately or unreduced zygomatic fracture are very difficult to correct secondarily. Malunion is the most common complication of zygomatic fractures and is the result of improper reduction and fixation, resulting in malocclusion, facial asymmetry, and enophthalmos.

Extraocular muscle entrapment, although usually attributable to the initial fractures, also can occur secondary to fracture repair. The rare complication of sudden onset blindness resulting from retrobulbar hemorrhage following reduction of even simple zygomatic fractures means that, in some instances, this procedure may be unsuitable for outpatient surgery. This serious complication, although rare (0.3% of treated zygomatic fractures), is potentially reversible upon early recognition of the symptoms and signs of retrobulbar hemorrhage (eg, pain, proptosis, loss of vision, decreased motility). If the surgeon suspects a retrobulbar hemorrhage, a lateral canthotomy and cantholysis should be performed as soon as possible. This should be completed at the bedside if the patient has visual compromise and is not near the operating suite.



Indicators of favorable outcome include bony union, absence of skeletal or soft tissue deformity, and a normal range of mandibular movement.


Patient Education

Advise patients to avoid nose blowing for fear of orbital emphysema and potential blindness. Also, warn them of the signs and symptoms of orbital/retrobulbar hemorrhage. Advise patients to call the surgeon at any time if orbital bleeding is suspected.

For excellent patient education resources, visit eMedicineHealth's First Aid and Injuries Center. Also, see eMedicineHealth's patient education article Facial Fracture.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Stuart Seiff, MD, FACS Emeritus Professor of Ophthalmology, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine; Chief, Department of Ophthalmology, San Francisco General Hospital; Consultant, Oculofacial and Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, California Pacific Medical Center and Mills Peninsula Medical Center

Stuart Seiff, MD, FACS is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, California Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Dan D DeAngelis, MD, FRCSC Assistant Professor of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine; Ophthalmologist, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, Hospital for Sick Children

Dan D DeAngelis, MD, FRCSC is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, California Medical Association, Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Ophthalmological Society, Ontario Medical Association, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Susan Carter, MD Clinical Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Institute of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, New Jersey Medical School

Susan Carter, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Jesus Torres, MD Fellow, Section of Oculoplastic Surgery, Hospital de Viladecans, Spain

Jesus Torres, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Ophthalmology, International Society of Refractive Surgery

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Chief Editor

Hampton Roy, Sr, MD Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Hampton Roy, Sr, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Ophthalmology, American College of Surgeons, Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Ron W Pelton, MD, PhD Private Practice, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Ron W Pelton, MD, PhD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Ophthalmology, American College of Surgeons, AO Foundation, American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Colorado Medical Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


The authors and editors of Medscape Reference gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Ryan I Huffman, MD, with the literature review and referencing for this article.

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The zygoma forms a firm buttress for the orbit and typically fractures at its sutures.
Waters view demonstrating a zygomatic complex fracture involving the zygomaticofrontal suture, inferior orbital rim, and opacification of the maxillary sinus.
CT scan of the orbit demonstrating disruption of the zygomatic arch.
CT scan demonstrating disruption of the lateral wall of the orbit and medial inferior orbital rim.
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