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Facial trauma may occur from sports injuries, motor vehicle accidents, falls, or assaults. If bones are broken that are misaligned, surgery may be indicated to place them in their proper position before they heal. Additionally, injuries to the skin and soft tissue may occur that require treatment. A craniofacial surgeon treats patients who have suffered from traumatic injuries to the head and face at the time of their initial injury, but he also treats patients who have sustained trauma previously and are unsatisfied with their appearance after their initial repair.

When a patient sustains a facial injury, the initial repair is typically performed in the first few weeks after the injury. The surgeon will do the best he or she can do at the time of the initial injury. However, rarely after one procedure does the patient look as close to normal as they could or should after the initial repair. A craniofacial surgeon has a multitude of techniques that she applies to patients with persistent post-traumatic deformities.

All of visible plastic surgery is cosmetic in the sense that every patient wants to look as good and as close to the deal normal as possible whether they suffer from breast cancer, a burn, a traumatic injury or a congenital facial anomaly. An ASCFS craniofacial surgeonís goal is to restore the patientí face as closely as possible to its pre-injury appearance. That is from where "plastic" in plastic surgery is derived. The Greek word plastikos means to return or restore to normal.