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Child fell on chin, swollen chin and lips, took advil. Swelling persistent. Why?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
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My 3 year old son fell off the top bunk of his brothers bed while they were playing before bed tonight. He fell on his chin and I think something his him pretty good under his chin because right after the incident it looked like it had a double chin because it was very swollen right under his chin. Also, his teeth hit the inside on his bottom lip so there is swelling there as well. He has a small bruise and the swelling went down at least half the size after applying an ice pack and childrens advil. He only cried maybe 5 or 10 minutes and can talk, open his mouth and move his jaw and tongue around, but the only thing is it felt like it tip of his chin had a piece of bone moving there when I was feeling around his jaw line and chin area. I am wondering why there would be so much swelling under the chin and if it is possible to break a piece of bone from your chin if you fell and his under the chin or directly on the chin?
Posted Sat, 14 Apr 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Sujeet N Charugulla 23 minutes later
Hello and thanks for your query.

I shall make an effort to provide you with good professional recommendations specific to your questions.

The injuries in less than 5 year old children, to the bones does not cause fractures most of the time. Those are termed Greenstick fractures, as the bone does not break as in the adults, it undergoes a bend rather than a break.

Reading your concern through, I would advise you to get a consultation. No doubt, healing is the best in children and they will be normal again much faster then adults, but you need to make sure that bend is not excessive, especially when you write that there was some hard part moving in the injured area.

A X-ray might help your doctor in assessing the situation if examination does not. Bandaging specifically for the chin should be enough to get him healed. The specialist intervention would be needed.

Even if he does not complain of pain, you should deem it important for now.

Yet again, I duly appreciate your query to me, I do hope that you have found something useful to help you and I shall be glad to answer any further apprehensions.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Child fell on chin, swollen chin and lips, took advil. Swelling persistent. Why? 35 hours later
I did appreciate your answer. I took my son to the ER yesterday morning and they did a full head cat scan.They said that they didn't see anything wrong and to just give him ibuprofen for the swelling. They said it should go away in a few days, but I don't agree with that. I look at him every day so I see how much of a difference it is. It is swollen to at least triple what it is supposed to be underneath his chin and also his chin looks like it is further in to me. I'm not sure if it because of the swelling, but it profile looks different. Maybe I'm just paranoid. How long should I expect the swelling in his cheeks, around and under his chin? Should i go to an orthopedic doctor to be safe if it did bend.
Answered by Dr. Sujeet N Charugulla 8 hours later
Thanks for the reply.

A CAT (computerised tomography)scan showing normalcy is just fine. You should be happy now.

Swelling is part of the injury and it is the body's defense mechanism. It would take anywhere between 2-3 weeks for it to regress.

Do not worry about his looks till his swelling goes away, after a month or so you can see his tissues will regain the tautness he normally has.

Continue the ibuprofen as advised. He should be fine. I too would not advise a separate orthopedic consultation as the ER doctor believes.

Wishing you good health.
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