In cases of facial trauma, nasal fractures are a common type of bone injury. This is largely due to the prominence and central location of the nose on the face and the weakness of the nasal cartilage. A nasal fracture is commonly the result of an injury from a car accident, a fall, a physical altercation, or a sports-related injury. Untreated nasal fractures can negatively affect both the appearance and the function of the nose. Functional problems include chronic nasal obstruction or blockage, and a predisposition for sinusitis, infection, and nosebleeds.
How can I tell if my nose is broken?
Diagnosing a broken nose is as simple as examining the appearance of the nose after a trauma. If the shape of the nose has changed and this change persists after 4-7 days when the swelling from the injury has subsided, then one can be rather certain that the nose has been broken and an ENT should be consulted for treatment options.
Symptoms Of Nasal Fractures
Nasal fractures often go unnoticed by both physicians and patients as a combination of the symptoms, including tenderness, hemorrhaging, and deformity, may not occur for long or at all. Additional symptoms of nasal fractures may include:
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- The crooked appearance of the nose
Diagnosis Of Nasal Fractures
A nasal fracture is commonly diagnosed by a doctor by reviewing the patient’s symptoms and performing a physical examination of the nose. Additional diagnostic tests may include:
- CT Scan
Can I break more than one bone in my nose?
These are the bones damaged in a nasal fracture: the ethmoid bone, the vomer bone, the maxillary bone, and the palatine bone. A break or crack in any of these bones constitutes a nasal fracture. There typically will also be a crack in the cartilage, which is the lower part of the nose.
How painful is a nasal fracture?
Nasal fractures are the most common facial fracture. They can be quite painful, especially since most broken noses are caused by your face contacting a hard surface. That could be a wall or the ground. It could be a person’s shoulder in a touch football game. It could be a fist in a fight. It could be the steering wheel in a car wreck.
The initial pain is the most intense, and then it settles down. But even if you get ahead of the pain with over-the-counter pain medication, it’s still time to call an expert with facial anatomy such as Dr. Payam Daneshrad, as you may now have structural problems with your nose. This can affect your breathing, and issues such as broken bones in the area can lead to very serious potential problems.
When should I see Dr. Daneshrad after impacting my nose?
As mentioned above, many nasal fractures can be managed with ice and pain medication, and they heal on their own. But more involved damage is not something to try and fix on your own. If you have these symptoms after a nose injury, you need immediate medical assistance:
- You have a head or neck injury, marked by severe headaches, neck pain, vomiting, or loss of consciousness.
- You’re having difficulty breathing through your nose.
- Your nose is bleeding uncontrollably.
- Your nose looks twisted or crooked.
- Your nose is draining clear watery fluid (could be fluid from your brain or spine).
“The receptionist was superwoman! She does it all appts, insurance verifications and checking out pts., all with a pleasant attitude! Dr. Daneshrad is as nice as he looks in his profile pic. He comes out to the waiting room to greet his patients! In all my 40+ years of seeing doctors, this was a first and it set the tone for the rest of my visit! I felt respected and listened to. It is so refreshing to find a doctor who makes you feel part of your healthcare treatment. A++. Highly recommended!!”
Can Dr. Daneshrad improve the appearance of my nose when performing repairs for the fracture?
As a board-certified otolaryngologist, Dr. Daneshrad is an expert with facial anatomy and facial plastic surgery, both for repair and for cosmetic reasons. When he is addressing broken bones or cartilage in your nose, this is a time when he could also address issues you have with its appearance. He could remove humps on the bridge, decrease an overly bulbous tip, decrease flared nostrils, and make other improvements. Since you will already be anesthetized for the nasal fracture surgery, this would be a perfect time for these cosmetic extensions of your procedure.
Treatment For A Nasal Fracture
A nasal fracture is immediately treated with ice and pain medications. Nasal decongestants may be prescribed to help make breathing easier while the nose is swollen. In cases where the nasal fracture is only a simple fracture, this may be the only treatment necessary. If the bone or cartilage in the nose needs to be straightened, a doctor may use a splint or fill the area with gauze in the technique known as nasal packing. For a more severe nasal fracture, surgery may be necessary to move the bone or cartilage back into the original position.
After treatment for a nasal fracture, most regular daily activities may be resumed. Patients may be advised to refrain from playing sports or performing strenuous physical activities for a few weeks after the initial treatment. When returning to sports or physical activities, doctors may recommend a nose guard.
Will I have difficulty breathing after surgery?
Your nose will be packed after your surgery, and you will have swelling. These will impact your breathing until Dr. Daneshrad removes the packing and your swelling resolves.
After that, your breathing should be completely normal. One of the main reasons you need to seek medical attention after breaking your nose is for its function. Sometimes when a nasal fracture isn’t treated the nose can be oriented in a way that impairs airflow, and the nasal septum has been displaced to one side. This is known as a deviated septum.
What happens if I break my nose a second time?
Just as with any bone in the human body, the bones in your nose can be broken again. Trauma is trauma. It can’t be predicted and usually can’t be prevented. But you can take certain precautions, such as wearing a full face guard when playing hockey or lacrosse. Wearing a helmet when riding a bike or a motorcycle. Those kinds of things.
What is recovery like after having a broken nose fixed?
Not all nasal fractures need outside treatment. Nasal decongestants and anti-inflammatory medications can handle the swelling and make your breathing easier. If Dr. Daneshrad needs to straighten a bone or the cartilage in your nose, he may use a splint, and that may be all the treatment necessary.
But he may need to perform surgery, so you will need to recover from that. These surgeries usually need to happen within 14 days of the injury before bones begin to heal in the incorrect position. Three days after your surgery, the pain should diminish, and you’ll be back to feeling good.
There aren’t really many restrictions during these recoveries. You’ll want to keep the blood pressure down to your face. You’ll need to avoid strenuous activity and sports for a few weeks. When you return to sports, you may need to wear a protective nose guard.
How long will it take my broken nose to fully heal?
In cases where you don’t require surgery with Dr. Daneshrad, your broken nose should be fully healed in about three weeks. If you had surgery, or the damage was more involved, healing should be complete in about six weeks.
Schedule a Client consultation with Dr. Daneshrad today
If you are interested in learning more about Nasal Fractures or want to schedule a consultation, please call 310.453.6500 today! We proudly serve patients from Santa Monica, Torrance, Los Angeles and surrounding areas, including Brentwood, Malibu, Culver City, Marina Del Rey, Venice, Pacific Palisades, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, and Palos Verdes.