A nasal fracture, the medical term for a broken nose, is a common result of sports
injuries or unplanned collisions with a fist, the ground or other solid object. A broken
nose is not only painful but can make it very difficult to breathe through the nose, not
to mention significantly affect one’s appearance.
Nasal fractures are almost guaranteed to cause bleeding, swelling and bruising around
the eyes. Our noses contain a lot of superficial blood vessels that can bleed following a
nasal fracture. Once the bleeding stops the swelling sets in and closes off the nasal
passage making things all stuffy and difficult to breathe through the nose.
Unfortunately, many people with nasal fractures are left with a permanently altered
nose if immediate attention isn’t sought.
A thorough exam of the nose and other facial structure along with X-rays of the nasal
bones are usually the first step after a nasal injury. Occasionally, a CT scan can help
identify hard to see cracks in the bone and aid in determining whether or not the bones
need to be repositioned. Septal hematomas, if present, should be promptly addressed
to prevent complications down the road.
Many cases of nasal fractures that aren’t out of position may simply need ice and some
TLC (tender, loving care) being sure not to accidentally bump it again. If the nasal
bones are significantly out of place, it should be repositioned as soon as possible after
the injury (less than 1 or 2 weeks) in order to restore proper positioning and reduce
breathing difficulties. Repositioning occasionally needs general anesthesia for the
complete relaxation and comfort of the patient but occasionally it can be done right on
If it’s been more than 2 weeks since a nasal fracture, it is often necessary to wait 2-3
months before attempting repair and straightening out the nose.
If you’ve experienced a nasal injury and either suspect or know you have a fracture,
don’t delay, contact us today so we can help prevent or repair any deformity and
reduce your symptoms. To prevent a broken nose, wear protective gear to shield your
face when playing contact sports.