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Broken Nose: Things You Need to Know

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Broken Nose: Things You Need to Know

ENT- Otolaryngology | Posted on 12/31/2022 by Dr. Amit Nahata



What is a broken nose?

A broken nose is also known as a nose fracture or nasal fracture. It is a crack or break in the nose cartilage or bone. The cracks usually happen over the nose bridge or in the septum, which is an area that divides the nostrils. A nose fracture is known to be the most common fracture on the face.

Usually, an individual can experience this problem after an injury, and at times occurs with other facial fractures. Nose fractures and neck fractures are often seen together. If the nose fracture is serious, then it requires expert healthcare attention immediately. For instance, if the cartilage is damaged, then it can lead to blood collection inside the nose. If the blood is not drained right away, then it causes an abscess or a deformity blocking the nose permanently. This problem can cause the death of the tissue and might cause nose collapse.

For such situations, the doctor recommends broken nose surgery to correct the septum that’s been bent out of place because of an injury. It is important to consider immediate treatment as it helps in avoiding permanent nasal obstruction and cosmetic variations.

You will find a comprehensive discussion here on everything related to a broken nose or fractured nose. So, make sure to give it a read.

How do you know if your nose is broken?

Like any other health condition, there are broken nose symptoms that you need to observe such as:

  • Throbbing pain or tenderness when you try to touch your nose
  • Nose swelling or swelling around the nose area 
  • Nose bleeding
  • Bruising across your eyes and nose
  • Crooked nose
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Mucus discharge
  • Feeling as if one of your nasal passages is blocked

Some symptoms need immediate medical treatment if you break your nose. These symptoms are:

  • Excessive bleeding that doesn’t stop
  • Clear fluid draining from the nose continuously
  • Difficult breathing
  • Nose looks crooked

What causes a broken nose?

An unexpected impact on the nose is one of the most common reasons for a broken or fractured nose. The condition usually occurs with other neck and facial injuries. There are other broken nose causes which include:

  • Falling down
  • Getting punched or kicked in the nose
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Sports Injury
  • Walking into a wall

Who is at risk of a fractured or broken nose?

Incidents can occur with anyone, so every individual is at risk of experiencing this problem at a certain point in his/her life. There are some activities that enhance the risk of a broken nose.

Individuals who are actively engaged in contact sports are at a higher risk of a fractured nose. These contact sports are basketball, football, boxing, martial arts, soccer, and hockey.

Other activities that put an individual at risk of experiencing a broken nose include being involved in a physical altercation, riding a bicycle, skiing, snowboarding, and riding a motor vehicle.

What is the process for a broken nose diagnosis?

The doctor will begin the diagnosis of a broken nose by conducting a physical assessment. It involves seeing and touching the nose including your face. If you experience severe pain, your doctor might apply anesthesia so that the nose is numb before physical evaluation.

After a complete physical examination, the doctor might ask you to visit again after two or three days once the swelling is reduced. It will also allow the doctor to view injuries effortlessly. If the nose injury is severe, then your doctor will order an X-ray or CT scan. It will help in determining the severity of the damage to your nose and other facial areas.

What are the treatment options for a broken nose?

There might be a requirement for medical treatment depending on your symptoms or you can also consider first aid at home.

First aid at home

There are certain things you can do at home before seeing your doctor if you don’t have severe symptoms. It includes:

  • Make sure to sit down and lean forward if your nose is bleeding. You can breathe through your mouth. This step will make sure that the blood isn’t draining down your throat.
  • Elevate your head to reduce excruciating pain if you aren’t bleeding.
  • You can also apply a cold compress to reduce swelling or ice wrap in a washcloth for around fifteen minutes.
  • You can also take over-the-counter drugs for pain relief such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

Medical treatment

Not every broken nose injury needs treatment. If your damage is severe, your doctor might involve:

  • Packing your nose with gauzing and probably placing a splint on it
  • Recommend pain medication and antibiotics
  • Performing a closed reduction broken nose surgery, in which your doctor provides you with local anesthesia so that the nose is numb.
  • Performing a rhinoplasty for realigning the nose.
  • Septorhinoplasty is also performed to repair your nasal septum

Medical treatment might not be required when only minor fractures are there with no misalignment. However, the doctor's assessment is required so that they can identify what treatment is accurate. There might be a need for broken nose surgery if the injury is moderate to severe.

Is there any way you can prevent a broken nose?

Some precautions can help you to reduce the risk of a broken nose such as:

  • Wearing shoes with effective traction to prevent falls.
  • Make sure to wear protective face gear to prevent injuries to the nose during contact sports.
  • Wearing a helmet when operating a motorcycle, skateboarding, snowboarding, or riding a bike.
  • Ensure wearing a seatbelt when driving a motor vehicle and make sure to restrain children appropriately.

Conclusion

If you have a broken nose, visit a healthcare expert immediately. The doctor will determine the injury's extent and suggest the right treatment plan for you. It is crucial to undergo treatment as soon as possible before you experience any serious complications.

FAQs

Can a broken nose recover on its own?

A broken nose can recover on its own within just a few days or weeks. There can be permanent deformity or difficulty breathing if the injury is severe. It is important to consult a medical expert in severe cases.

How long does it take to recover from broken nose surgery?

A broken nose will usually take about three to six weeks to recover.

Is nose fracture serious?

Yes, nose injuries can be serious. Serious nose injuries often cause issues that need a healthcare expert’s attention immediately.