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Broken Nose Symptoms & Treatments

Broken Nose

What is a broken nose?

A broken nose, or nasal fracture, describes a break or crack in the nose bone. Often, a fracture occurs in the bone that covers the bridge of your nose. A broken nose is extremely painful, and may cause a person to have trouble breathing.

What causes a broken nose?

Broken noses are often the result of facial trauma due to:

  • Contact sports
  • Physical fights
  • Falling from a height
  • Car accidents

What are some broken nose symptoms?

Common signs of a broken nose include:

  • Nasal obstruction
  • Bleeding from nose
  • Bruising around nose and eyes
  • Pain or tenderness in nose
  • Swelling on and around nose
  • Misshaped nose
  • Discharge from nose

When should I see a doctor?

If any of the following conditions occur, emergency medical assistance should be sought right away:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Extreme headache
  • Neck pain
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Watery fluid draining from the nose

What are the risk factors for a broken nose?

The most common cause for a broken nose is facial injury due to forceful impact. Some of the risk factors that increase the chances of facial injury and broken nose are:

  • Playing contact sports, especially without a helmet or protective facial gear
  • Aggressive physical behavior, such as fist fights
  • Riding in a car, especially without a seatbelt
  • Using a bicycle or motorcycle, especially without a helmet

What are some broken nose treatment options?

In some cases, a broken nose can lead to other, more serious, conditions. These include a deviated septum or nasal obstruction due to blood collection. It is important to see a medical professional with New York ENT in order to get an accurate diagnosis and avoid other complications.

If symptoms only involve minor swelling and bruising, patients can choose to wait a couple days for swelling to subside before seeing a professional. However, it is always advisable to consult with a medical professional within a few days of the injury.

When diagnosing a broken nose, ENT doctors may use an otoscope to look inside of the nose for obstructions and signs of broken bones. During the exam, patients may be given a local anesthetic to ease discomfort.

In some cases, x-rays or computerized tomography (CT) scans may be recommended by your doctor. This is generally only needed when injuries are severe enough that a physical exam is not possible.

How is a broken nose treated?

Immediate action can be taken when the break first occurs, before seeing a doctor. At-home treatments may be used before you are able to see a doctor and sometimes help limit the severity of the break. When nose fractures are severe, a doctor may need to realign the bone or take other medical action, listed below.

At-Home Care for Broken Nose

  • Breathe through your mouth
  • Ice the area at least 4 times each day
  • Keep head elevated, especially when sleeping
  • Limit activities, especially contact sports, for at least 6 weeks

Professional Medical Care for Broken Nose

  • Manual realignment – This procedure is performed within 14 days of the break, and is usually done when a break has misaligned the bones or cartilage in the nose. During the procedure, an ENT specialist will:
    • Administer pain medication to ease discomfort
    • Open nostrils with a nasal speculum
    • Realign the broken bones with special medical tools
  • Surgery – Surgery is required when a break is severe or occurred more than 14 days prior to seeking treatment from New York ENT. Patients recommended for nasal realignment surgery are usually suffering from nasal obstruction or deviated septum that is causing breathing problems due to the break.

If you are suffering from a broken nose, the first step towards feeling better is to schedule an evaluation with an experienced ear, nose and throat doctor. Board certified physicians with New York ENT have extensive experience diagnosing and treating a wide variety of nasal conditions. Fill out the form on this page or call our office at (212) 873-6168 to schedule an appointment today.

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