Much of the contemporary knowledge of treating facial trauma comes from the experience of World War II and its resulting plethora of facial and other traumas. This knowledge has been put to use in treating not only massive trauma patients, but also those who undergo craniofacial surgery as a result of medical conditions like cancerous tumors of the head and neck which require partial dissection of the facial area for removal. As fields like oncology have advanced, development of expertise in the area of craniofacial surgery and reconstruction has proceeded further.
As the face is emblematic of the entire human body, it is not surprising that massive facial trauma requires a bevy of physicians from different specialties including plastic surgeons, oral surgeons, otolaryngologists and now, psychologists and psychiatrists. A seminal study done in 1986 made a distinctive link between various facial characteristics and specific reactions of members of the opposite sex to those characteristics. For example, men found women to be more attractive if they had high, wide eyes, small chins and noses and more prominent cheekbones. Other features were related to perceptions of intelligence, sociability and assertiveness. A slight change in facial features leads to a large shift in the way the patient is perceived throughout society. It is not surprising then that facial trauma, even of the slightest variety, requires a major psychological readjustment for the victim.
When facial trauma leads to greater deformity, the sociological impact is much greater on the patient. Studies have shown that such victims have far fewer opportunites throughout all aspects of society including job opportunities, prestige, personal relationships and sexual experiences. It has even been proven that people keep a further distance away from those with facial deformities in even the most casual of circumstances such as crossing the street.
These victims could be said to constitute a gender not entirely either male or female as a result of their exclusion from many gender specific activities including both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. As their outer appearances become visually androgynous the greater the level of trauma, their inner selves withdraw into a world somewhere between that of men or women.