A fractured nose typically refers to a broken nose bridge or nasal septum—the cartilage that divides the nostrils. It accounts for 50% of facial bone fractures in adults, making it the most common type of facial fracture. But can a broken nose ever return to its pre-injury condition? This blog post aims to answer that.
Causes of Nasal Fractures
The nose is the most prominent feature of the face, so it is easily exposed to trauma. The most common cause of nasal fractures is direct trauma to the face or nose. It is unusual to have an isolated nasal fracture. Typically, a person with a broken nose may also has a facial or neck injury.
Here are the usual mechanisms of injury that lead to a nasal fracture in adults:
- Falling on your face
- Walking into a wall
- Getting involved in a vehicular accident
- Getting punched in the nose
- Getting hit in the nose during a sporting event
Is your nose broken?
According to Dr. Zaydon, our facial plastic surgeon in Miami, you might have a broken nose if you answer yes to the following questions:
- Is your nose painful?
- Does your nose appear bent?
- Is your nose swollen?
- Are you bleeding from your nose?
- Does your nose feel congested?
- Do you hear or feel a grating sensation when moving your nose?
- Are there bruises around your eyes and nose?
Immediate medical treatment is needed if:
- You have been bleeding for more than 15 minutes
- You have difficulty breathing through your nose
- A clear liquid is draining from your nose
- There is a grape like swelling inside your nose
- The deformity is so obvious
Call 911 if you experience any of these five signs and symptoms. You should also limit your movement to prevent further damage, especially if you suspect a head or neck injury.
First aid for non-emergency cases:
In these cases, you can perform the following first aid measures:
- If your nose is bleeding, lean forward and breathe through your mouth
- Keep your head elevated to reduce swelling and ease pain
- Apply a cold compress on your nose for 15 to 20 minutes at a time to further decrease the swelling
- Take a painkiller to relieve pain
After this, you should go to the nearest hospital for treatment. The doctors will ask how you got injured, examine your nose, and run some tests to know the full extent of the injury and if other structures are also affected.
Treatment for nasal fractures
The edema or swelling can interfere with the medical assessment. To fully evaluate the injury, a cold pack will be applied to the injured nose and once the swelling subsides, your doctor will reassess your injury to determine if surgery is necessary.
The surgery should take place no more than 2 weeks after the injury. Ideally, it should be performed in the first hours following the injury, before swelling has occurred. If this is not possible, the surgery should be performed between 4-7 days after the injury.
Before the procedure, patients are placed under local anesthesia, although they can also request for sedation or general anesthesia.
Depending on your specific type of injury, our facial plastic surgeon in Miami may use one of two surgical techniques to repair your nose. Both will attempt to bring back the nose to its normal, pre-injury appearance:
- Closed reduction involves the manipulation of the nasal bones without making an incision, making it the preferred choice of most patients. However, it is only indicated for patients with a unilaterally displaced nasal fracture and minimal deviation of the nasal septum.
- Open reduction is the treatment of choice for more severe nasal fractures. This procedure may include septoplasty (to straighten a deviated nasal septum), osteotomy (to cut and reshape the bone), or septorhinoplasty (to fix the nose and nasal septum).
Applying a cold compress for the first 48 hours can reduce swelling and ease discomfort after the surgery. When necessary, you will also have to wear a splint for 7-10 days.
Although you may achieve full recovery in terms of breathing and cosmetic restoration, you should remember that the injury has permanently changed the anatomy of the nose.
Learn more about Dr. Zaydon – Plastic Surgery Institute of Miami
Dr. Zaydon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. He is also a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Zaydon serves as a plastic surgery expert witness on liability cases around the country. He has reviewed many cases and has served as an expert witness for both plaintiffs and defendants.
If you would like more information about our procedures, do not hesitate to Contact Us.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.