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One of the bones in the nose, often the bone covering the nose's bridge, breaks or splits, resulting in a fractured nose, also known as a nasal fracture.
People frequently break their noses in contact sports, physical altercations, falls, and car accidents that cause facial injuries.
A broken nose can hurt, and nosebleeds happen frequently as a side effect. Your nose and the area around your eyes could be swollen and bruised. You can have problems breathing through your nose and your nose might appear misaligned.
Procedures to straighten your nose may be used as part of your treatment for a broken nose. Typically, surgery is not required.
A fractured nose is frequently brought on by:
- Getting hurt playing contact sports like football or hockey
- Physical conflict
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Even walking into a fixed object, such as a wall or door, or engaging in physical play like wrestling can result in a broken nose.
How can you tell if your nose is broken?
Please seek medical assistance, in the event that you sustain a nose injury and any of the following:
- An injury to the head or neck that causes a severe headache, neck pain, nausea, or loss of consciousness.
- Having trouble breathing
- Your bleeding will not stop
- A discernible alteration in your nose's shape that is not caused by swelling, like a crooked or twisted appearance
- Your nose is draining a clear, watery substance
Any activity that raises your risk of facial injuries raises your risk of breaking your nose. These actions could be:
- Specifically, playing contact sports like football and hockey without a helmet with a face mask
- Getting into a fight physically
- Bicycle riding
- Lifting weights, without assistance
- Riding in a car, without a seatbelt
Broken nose warning signs and symptoms include:
- When you touch your nose, you may experience pain or tenderness.
- Your nose and nearby parts are swollen.
- Your nose is bleeding
- Bruising around the eyes or nose
- Misaligned or crooked nose
- Breathing through your nose is challenging.
- Mucus coming out of your nose
- Feeling blocked in one or both of your nasal passage
Following these recommendations will help you avoid breaking your nose:
- When travelling in a motor vehicle, always wear your seatbelt, and keep kids in age-appropriate child safety seats.
- When playing hockey, football, or other contact sports, wear the recommended safety gear, such as a helmet with a face mask.
- When riding a motorbike or bicycle, always wear a helmet.
You might not require medical attention if you have a slight fracture that has not turned your nose crooked or otherwise disfigured. You might be able to manage by applying ice to the affected area and utilizing over-the-counter painkillers.
Your doctor might be able to physically straighten your nose's bones and cartilage if the break has caused them to get dislodged. This must be completed within 14 days of the fracture, preferably earlier.
The drug will numb your nose throughout the treatment. Sometimes medical professionals might use their fingers to push the nose back into position. To help realign the fractured bones and cartilage, they may occasionally need to employ specialised equipment.
You might have a splint on your nose. Sometimes a temporary internal splint is also required. The packing must typically remain in place for a week if it is utilised. The dressing could be left on for as long as two weeks.
Antibiotics may also be prescribed to you in order to protect you from an infection brought on by the bacteria that inhabit your nose.
Surgery may be required for severe breaks, multiple breaks, or breaks that have gone untreated for longer than 14 days. If necessary, surgery can straighten the bones and remodel your nose.
Your breathing may feel restricted or you may experience a stuffy nose if the break has damaged your nasal septum, the middle portion of your nose that separates your nostrils. Surgery for reconstruction might be suggested.
Depending on your symptoms, you might require emergency medical attention or be able to administer first aid at home before seeing a doctor when it is most convenient for you.
Primary care at home
There are a few things you can do at home before consulting a doctor if your symptoms do not necessitate immediate medical attention:
- Sit down and lean forward while inhaling through your lips if your nose is bleeding. In this manner, your throat will not become drained of blood.
- Elevate your head if you are not bleeding to lessen the throbbing ache.
- Apply a cold compress or ice wrapped in a washcloth for 15 to 20 minutes, three or four times per day, to your nose to reduce swelling.
- Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol) (Advil, or Motrin) to soothe discomfort.
- For the best results, face damage should be examined right away to determine the entire degree of injuries. Many times, people are unaware of all the structures that a face injury or broken nose might affect. Within one to two weeks of the incident, it is simpler to treat a broken or fractured nose.
- It is crucial that your doctor examines the septum, the separating wall within your nose, for damage following a nasal injury. Blood can collect in the septum, which calls for immediate medical attention.
Not all broken noses need to be treated severely. Your doctor might carry out one of the following procedures if your wounds are severe enough:
- Gauze up your nose and possibly put a splint on it
- Prescribe painkillers and perhaps antibiotics
- Undertake a closed reduction procedure, when your surgeon numbs your nose with a local anaesthetic and physically realigns it.
- Perform a rhinoplasty, a procedure that realigns the nose.
- Perform a septorhinoplasty, a procedure that fixes the nasal septum.
- Following the swelling has subsided, three to ten days after your injury, closed reduction, rhinoplasty, and septorhinoplasty are typically performed.
Complications of Broken Nose
Injuries or complications from a broken nose may consist of:
Deviated septum. A deviated septum may result from a fractured nose. The nasal septum, a thin wall separating the two sides of your nose, becomes misaligned and narrows your nasal airway, resulting in this disorder. You can treat a deviated septum with medications like decongestants and antihistamines.
Septal Hematoma. A condition known as a septal hematoma can occasionally develop in a broken nose as pools of blood that have clotted. One or both nostrils may become blocked by a septal haemorrhage. To avoid damaging the cartilage, rapid surgical drainage is necessary.
A fractured cartilage. A cartilage fracture may also occur if your injury was caused by a powerful blow, such as one from an auto accident. If your injury is serious enough to require surgery, the doctor will need to treat both your bone and cartilage injuries.
Harm to the neck. A blow that is powerful enough to break your nose could also fracture the bones in your neck. Get medical attention right away if you think you might have hurt your neck.
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Page last reviewed: Mar 10, 2023
Next review due: Mar 10, 2025