in Denver and Lone Tree, Colorado
Projecting prominently from the central part of the face, it is no surprise that the nose is the most commonly broken bone on the head. A broken nose (nasal fracture) can significantly alter your appearance. It can also make it much harder to breathe through the nose.
What is a nasal fracture?
Getting struck on the nose, whether by another person, a door, or the floor is not pleasant. Your nose will hurt—usually a lot. You’ll likely have a nose bleed and soon find it difficult to breathe through your nose. Swelling develops both inside and outside the nose, and you may get dark bruises around your eyes (“black eyes”).
Nasal fractures can affect both bone and cartilage. A collection of blood (called a “septal hematoma”) can sometimes form on the nasal septum (a wall made of bone and cartilage inside the nose that separates the sides of the nose).
Nasal fractures, or broken noses, result from facial injuries in contact sports or falls. Injuries affecting the teeth and mouth may also affect the nose.
How can I prevent a broken nose?
- Wear protective gear to shield your face when participating in contact sports.
- Avoid fist fights.
When should I visit a doctor?
If you’ve been struck in the nose, it’s important to see one of our physicians to check for septal hematoma. If you suspect your nose may be broken, see an ENT Specialist – head and neck surgeon within one week of the injury. If you are seen within one to two weeks, it may be possible to repair your nose immediately. If you wait longer than two weeks (one week for children) you will likely need to wait several months before your nose can be surgically straightened and fixed.
If left untreated, a broken nose can leave you with an undesirable appearance as well as permanent difficulty in trying to breathe.
Broken nose treatment options
If your nose is broken but not out of position, you may need no treatment other than rest and being careful not to bump your nose. If your nose is broken so badly that it needs to be repositioned, call our office and one of our specialists will determine the best treatment option. You can have your nose repaired, in the office in some situations. One of our doctors can give you some local anesthesia, reposition the broken bones into place, and then hold them in the right location with a “cast” made of plastic, plaster, or metal. This cast will then stay in place for a week. A similar approach, using general anesthesia in the operating room, may also be used.
Broken nose surgery
If more than two weeks have passed since the time of your injury, you may need to wait a while before having your nose straightened surgically. It may be necessary to wait two to three months before a good repair can be done, by which time there will be less swelling and your nose will have begun to heal. Reduced swelling will allow the surgeon to get a more accurate picture of how your nose originally looked. This type of surgery is considered reconstructive plastic surgery, as its goal is to restore your appearance to the way it was prior to injury. If your repair is done within two weeks of the injury, restoring prior appearance is the only possible goal. If you have waited several months for the repair, it is often possible to change the appearance of your nose as you desire.