broken nose

Accidents will happen. It does not matter how careful or prepared a person is, accidents will tend to happen. Every human being, in their lifetime will get bruised, wounded and will get hurt. It may be due to a hobby, a sport, at work, at play or a fight a certain body part will get hurt, bruised or broken.

One of the  most common injury is a broken nose. According to Dr. Stephen Hoff, EENT at the Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, a broken nose is included in the top three of all pediatric fractures. He also added that a broken nose is included in the top 5 of adult injuries. As anyone can tell, the nose is made up of two nostrils  that are shaped by a cartilage. Two bones at the bridge of the nose holds the cartilage in place. These two bones are called the nasal root. This is also the bone that gets broken whenever it gets hit by a football, get punched, get knocked around in a car accident or being elbowed in a street fight. If the nasal root breaks or get damaged, there will be a lot of pain, swelling and blood dripping out of your nose. A black eye can also show after breaking your nose. In most cases, this condition is easy to fix, according to Dr. Hoff. He said that a broken nose usually almost needs no treatment and often it will just require an examination. Usually the doctor will decide if the nose needs surgery once the swelling goes down in about 2-3 days.


There are cases where the nasal root doesn’t heal or mend correctly. There are also some instances where normal breathing gets affected. The cartilage and the septum can also get damaged or break. It can bend and block part of the nostrils and result to difficulty in breathing. Nasal fractures are usually identified visually through physical examination. One of the doctor’s priorities is to distinguish the simple fractures that are limited to the nasal bones (classified as Type 1) from fractures that can also involve other facial bones (classified as type 2) and the nasal septum (classified as type 3). In a type 1 scenario, X-rays often offer little information beyond clinical examination. For type 2 and 3 cases, the diagnosis can be confirmed with X-rays of CT scans specifically if facial injuries are being considered. Although treating an uncomplicated fracture of the nasal bones are not urgent and a referral  for specific treatment within 5-7 days will do. For type 2 and 3 fractures, it requires urgent treatment.  For these cases, reconstructive surgery or rhinoplasty may be required to bring back the normal function and esthetics of the nose.


Suggested steps for self or home treatments includes:

  1. Placing an ice pack  over the treated nose for 15 minutes at a time and then removing the ice. This process can be repeated every hour all throughout the day. Do this at the time of the injury and for up to 2 days to  minimize swelling and pain.
  2. Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to also reduce pain. Or take what pain reliever your doctor has prescribed and only use them as directed.
  3. An over the counter decongestant can aid in normal breathing. Do not use a nasal decongestant if the nose continues to bleed. You need to have immediate medical attention if bleeding continues. It  will be  helpful to read the warning label to prevent any side effects or unexpected complications.
  4. Make sure that the head is elevated, especially when sleeping or lying down to prevent further or prolonged swelling of the nose. Use pillows to elevate the head without producing any discomfort.


Medical treatment includes:

  1. Type 1 or other minor nasal injuries can be allowed to heal on their own provided that there is no other bone or cartilage damage that will result to cosmetic deformity. Ice and pain relievers can be prescribed to minimize the swelling, bruising, pain and discomfort during the healing process.
  2. For nasal fractures resulting in a deformed nose, manual alignment can be made or attempted which in most cases, produces better results. The attending doctor may use pain relievers or local anesthesia and nasal instruments in re-aligning the nose. You have to take note that not all fractures can be re-aligned immediately. Some displaced fractures cannot be relocated in the emergency room. In some cases, an EENT or an otolaryngologist will be required to do surgery.
  3. If the nose continues to bleed, a soft gauze may be placed in the bleeding nostril to stop the bleeding.
  4. The physician may prescribe antibiotics or pain medication while the pack in is in place.
  5. If other injuries exist, additional tests and treatments will be given.

Any fractures or injuries within the type 2 or type cases should be treated surgically or through rhinoplasty.

Procedures can include:

  1. Septoplasty is the surgical technique to straighten the nasal septum which divides the two nasal cavities. A normal septum should be at the center of the nose, if it deviates to one side, it will narrow that cavity and may interfere with air flow or normal breathing and can lead to nasal obstruction. Septoplasty can last for an hour or less depending on the severity. The term does not include recovery time.
  2. Rhinoplasty, by definition, is a type of plastic surgery procedure that is performed to correct reconstruct the form, function and aesthetics of the nose by treating or resolving nasal traumas, congenital defects, respiratory issues or a failed primary rhinoplasty. Maxillofacial surgeons, plastic surgeons and otolaryngologist are the specialist that handles such cases. A rhinoplasty can also make the nose smaller or larger, change the angle in relation to  an individual’s upper lip, change’s the nose tip and correct nasal bumps and indentations. A rhinoplasty procedure will not be considered a cosmetic procedure if the main purpose of the operation is to reconstruct, correct and bring back the normal functions of the nose.
  3. Surgery is required for severe deformity and multiple damage to the inner and outer area of the nose. Some simple surgery can be performed in a clinic or at the hospital. Special instruments and local anesthesia will be administered. Complex surgeries will be performed in the operating room.

What To Expect After The Surgery

After your nose surgery, you will be delivered to a post-surgery recovery room to be monitored. A splint may be made to hold t nasal tissues in place until it stabilized. It will also protect the nose from accidental bumps, when you sleep and help it heal normally. Swelling, bruising, pain and occasionally black eyes will happen for several weeks after the surgery. Stitches that hold the splints in correcting they broken nose will be removed between 1 to 7 days after the surgery. Some doctors may use dissolvable sutures during surgery. You may also need to use nasal saline wash every few hours to make sure that there will be no debris build up or excessive crusting. If possible, avoid wearing any kind of sunglasses for a few months after the surgery. Wearing sunglasses will put unwanted stress specifically on the bridge of the nose. Avoid any strenuous activities while your nose is healing. Putting too much stress on your body may affect the healing time and may cause some of the healing tissues to break. Usually nasal surgery patients will be able to go back to work or school within a week or up to two weeks, but you have to remember that recovery time will vary among different patients. Just like any surgery, a Septoplasty or rhinoplasty carry certain risks and the best way to minimize risks and side effects is to have a skilled, experienced, certified and qualified plastic surgeon that will perform the surgery. Making yourself familiarize with the possible complications and side effects will help you understand and prepare for the surgery.

You can prevent a broken nose by following safety rules whenever participating  in sports, especially the contact ones, avoid using too many drugs and drinking lots of alcohol. If you’re too high or too drink, there is a possibility that you will fall on your face, thus breaking your nose plus other bruises on your face. Wear the seatbelt all the time when riding or driving your car. Also make sure that children are also in an approved car seat when riding in your car. Avoid stupid fights, there is a possibility that your nose will be punched first, if you do need to fight to defend yourself, hit  your opponent’s nose first.

Accidents can happen but a broken nose can be prevented if you know what to avoid. If you broke your nose, you now know what to do to have it treated and corrected.

Author Bio: Rose loves travelling, healthy living and organic foods. She can research and write and blog about health and healthcare for the whole day without getting tired.