Characteristics of ballistic and blast injuries.
Ballistic injury wounds are formed by variable interrelated factors, such as the nature of the tissue, the compositional makeup of the bullet, distance to the target, and the velocity, shape, and mass of the of the projectile. This complex arrangement, with the ultimate outcome dependent on each other, makes the prediction of wounding potential difficult to assess. As the facial features are the component of the body most involved in a patient's personality and interaction with society, preservation of form, cosmesis, and functional outcome should remain the primary goals in the management of ballistic injury. A logical, sequential analysis of the injury patterns to the facial complex is an absolutely necessary component for the treatment of craniomaxillofacial ballistic injuries. Fortunately, these skill sets should be well honed in all craniomaxillofacial surgeons through their exposure to generalized trauma, orthognathic, oncologic, and cosmetic surgery patients. Identification of injured tissues, understanding the functional limitations of these injuries, and preservation of both hard and soft tissues minimizing the need for tissue replacement are paramount.
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