The nose is the most prominent part of the face, making it more prone to sustaining trauma or injury. The bones of your nose get broken more often than any other bone in the face. Contact sports and accidents that lead to facial trauma are some of the most common causes of a broken nose.
A broken can nose or a nasal fracture can cause different kinds of discomfort and complications. It can be excruciating and may lead to bruising or swelling around the nose and under the eyes. When the nose is crooked, you may also have an asymmetrical face or have trouble breathing.
Fortunately, a broken nose can be treated and realigned with the right procedures and proper care. However, it is essential to know what the symptoms are and what you can do when you break your nose before undergoing any treatment.
Common Broken Nose Symptoms
There are a few common signs that tell whether or not you have a broken nose. Below are some of the symptoms to watch out for when identifying a nasal fracture:
- Nasal deformity or a change in the shape of the nose
- Epistaxis or nose bleeding
- Bruising around the nose or eyes
- Feeling of pain when the nose is touched
- Severe headaches
- Troubled breathing
- Mucus Discharge
Many things can happen to your nose when it gets broken. The mucous membrane, for example, tears up when the nasal bones break, leading up to a nosebleed. The nose bridge or the septum may also be pushed to one side. Accumulated blood under the membrane, called septal hematoma, can cause the cartilage to die. This accumulation of blood may cause the cartilage to disintegrate and result in a sagging nose bridge, also known as saddle nose deformity.
It is also vital to note that you may also have sustained other injuries depending on how you broke your nose. If the injury is severe, the cheekbones or neck can also be affected. There are also instances when a nasal fracture requires immediate medical attention due to life-threatening symptoms, such as loss of consciousness. In such cases, seek a medical professional immediately and get evaluated.
What to Do for a Broken Nose
Understand that a simple nasal fracture can heal naturally, especially when there’s no misalignment. However, there are immediate actions that you need to take if you experience any bleeding and swelling:
- Stop the bleeding: Keep your nose higher than your heart and don’t lie down. To prevent the blood from running into the throat, lean forward. If the bleeding is still continuous, pinch the soft part of the nose and hold it for five minutes. Repeat this process for another ten minutes.
- Relieve the pain: Make sure to consume medicine such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. When you’re about to sleep, use extra pillows to keep your head elevated.
- Alleviate the swelling: Use a towel-wrapped ice pack and place it on your nose. This should be done for at least ten minutes, then remove and repeat. Make sure that you don’t apply too much pressure while doing this since it may worsen the condition of your nose. Do this for at least four times a day for two days.
It’s crucial to treat a broken nose when these occur. If these are not taken care of properly, complications may arise such as a deviated septum, septal hematoma, and cartilage fractures. If you experience any of these complications, it’s advisable to see a surgeon for treatment.
Broken Nose Treatment
For a confirmed broken nose, the doctor is going to wait for the swelling to alleviate. Once the swelling has subsided, only then can he decide whether to fix the nose or not. This would also determine if the injury requires surgery. Below are two procedures that you can expect from your surgeon.
Even if the doctor can opt to fix the nose without surgery, a manual realignment needs to be done within one or two weeks of the incident. Before the procedure, he will provide you medication for the pain and then open your nostrils using a speculum. Other specialized tools are going to be used to align the damaged bones and cartilage. Then, he will use packing inside the nose and a dressing outside of it to keep the nose in place as it recovers. Antibiotics may be provided along with the other procedures to prevent infection.
Nasal Fracture Surgery
A nasal fracture surgery involves various methods that depend on the severity of the condition of the nose. The doctor may simply perform a closed reduction procedure if the nasal fracture requires a simple realignment. If the damage is extensive, he will instead perform a more complex reconstructive procedure to fix the broken nose.
It is essential to find the right surgeon for this type of surgery to ensure that you undergo the procedure safely. A nasal fracture surgery requires expert diagnosis and meticulous care to identify the issue and repair the damage. So make sure that your surgeon is board-certified and has an extensive knowledge of reconstructive surgery to fix your broken nose.