A break or fracture to the nose can be a rite of passage for some, especially with physical sports. But for the majority of us, a nasal fracture is an unfortunate disaster. It affects proper breathing, physical appearance and overall quality of life. It can even lead to more serious conditions if not treated properly.
HOW DO YOU GET A NASAL FRACTURE?
Typically, a nasal fracture is the result of blunt force trauma. It is any crack, fissure or complete break in the bone along the bridge of the nose or cartilage inside the nasal septum. Approximately half of all fractures in the face are broken noses.
If you do not seek immediate assistance to readjust the bones within two weeks, the nose may not heal properly. A broken nose may also lead to more serious issues, such as a septal hematoma, a blood clot inside the nose. This clot could lead to a severe infection if not flushed.
Other issues may include the growth of a hole that can cause the bridge of your nose to collapse into your nasal septum (known as septal perforation). To reduce the risk of complications, Dr. Shuaib recommends you seek treatment immediately to assess the suspected nasal fracture.
WHAT ARE SYMPTOMS OF A NASAL FRACTURE?
Symptoms of a facial fracture or broken nose include:
- Pain concentrated in the nose and facial region near the nose
- Noticeable swelling
- Substantial nosebleeds
- Difficulty breathing
- Nose discoloration
- Black eyes
- Crooked or distorted appearance in the nose, which may not be visible until the swelling decreases
- A crunching sound when the nose is moved
Dr. Shuaib will ask how the injury occurred and examine your nose for the following symptoms:
- Irregularities in appearance
- Bone movement
- Substantial nosebleeds
- Irregular feeling when the nose is moved
- Pain and tenderness level when touched
WHAT ARE MY TREATMENT OPTIONS?
Soft tissue swelling can often distort your nose's appearance, so you may need to wait 48-72 hours for Dr. Shuaib to properly assess your injury. However, if one side of the bones is pushed over or out, immediate medical care is required.
Depending on the severity of the fracture or break, Dr. Shuaib may prescribe:
- Ice packs
- Over the Counter Pain medication like Tylenol
- Protection of the nose area
For more serious conditions such as a deviated septum, you may need a realignment of the bones under general anesthesia. This repair can be done a few days after the initial fracture. The bones are then kept in place with a splint for approximately a week. This procedure is known as a “reduction.”
For significantly displaced bones, surgeons often attempt to return the nasal bones to a straighter position under local or general anesthesia. Usually this is done within seven to ten days of injury, so the bones heal properly. Since so many fractures are irregular and will not simply “pop" back into place, the procedure is successful only half of the time.
Injuries that result in bone displacement may also lead to compromised breathing. In this case, you may need to undergo a corrective procedure known as septorhinoplasty. This procedure is commonly performed on an outpatient basis and takes about a week for recovery.
Dr. Shuaib is expertly trained to diagnose, manage, and treat a nasal fracture and restore it to its original shape, regardless of how severe the fracture may be. Please give his office a call today to set up an appointment if your nose needs special care.
Dr. Stefan Shuaib is one of the top head and neck surgeons in Texas and provides on-site diagnosis and treatment in the Rio Grande Valley. If you are concerned about any changes or symptoms you have been experiencing, it is important to schedule an appointment with Dr. Shuaib by calling (956) 362-8125.