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Otorhinolaryngology (Ear, Nose and Throat)
A broken nose, also called a nasal fracture, is a break or crack in a bone in your nose — often the bone over the bridge of your nose. Common causes of a broken nose include contact sports, physical fights, falls and motor vehicle accidents that result in facial trauma. A broken nose can cause pain, along with swelling and bruising around your nose and under your eyes. Your nose may look crooked, and you may have trouble breathing.
Signs and symptoms of a broken nose:
- Bleeding from your nose
- Bruising around your nose or eyes
- Crooked or misshapen nose
- Difficulty breathing through your nose
- Discharge of mucus from your nose
- Feeling that one or both of your nasal passages are blocked
- Pain or tenderness, especially when touching your nose
- Swelling of your nose and surrounding areas
If you have a minor fracture that hasn't caused your nose to become crooked or otherwise misshapen, you may not need professional medical treatment. Your doctor may recommend simple self-care measures, such as using ice on the area and taking over-the-counter pain medications.
Our ENT specialists may be able to realign your nose manually, or you may need surgery.
If the break has displaced the bones and cartilage in your nose, your doctor may be able to manually realign them. This needs to be done within 14 days from when the fracture occurred, preferably sooner. During this procedure, your doctor:
- Administers medication by injection or nasal spray to ease discomfort
- Opens your nostrils with a nasal speculum
- Uses special instruments to help realign your broken bones and cartilage
Your doctor will also splint your nose using packing in your nose and a dressing on the outside. Sometimes, an internal splint is also necessary for a short time. The packing usually needs to stay in for a week. You'll also be given a prescription for antibiotics to prevent infection with the bacteria that may normally reside in your nose.
Severe breaks, multiple breaks or breaks that have gone untreated for more than 14 days may not be candidates for manual realignment. In these cases, surgery to realign the bones and reshape your nose may be necessary.
If the break has damaged your nasal septum, causing obstruction or difficulty breathing, reconstructive surgery may be recommended. Surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis.