Getting Help for a Broken Nose
Your nose occupies a prominent position in the middle of your face, unprotected and exposed. That makes it especially vulnerable to impact and susceptible to damage.
You’ll never see it coming. A car accident, a collision on the basketball court, or a misplaced elbow on a crowded bus, and suddenly you’ve suffered a nasal fracture, or as it’s more commonly known, a broken nose.
What Is a Broken Nose?
The term “broken nose” is slightly misleading. A nasal fracture can be a complete break in the nasal bones, or it may only be a crack.
In both breaks and cracks, there is generally also damage to the surrounding nasal cartilage.Especially likely to be impacted is the nasal septum, a flexible partition that separates the left and right sides of the nose.
How Do I Know My Nose Is Broken?
This is an excellent and very important question. Immediate symptoms of a broken nose include:
- Clear fluid draining from your nose
- Blockage of one or both nostrils
- Bruising, swelling and tenderness around the nose
As time passes, a broken nose may cause:
- A bruise-like discoloration under the eyes
- A deviated septum
- A twisted or crooked nose
- Chronic nasal obstruction
What the Nose Knows that You Don’t
Here’s a problem, though. The symptoms of a mild nasal fracture are often limited to a brief nosebleed and/or mild swelling. For this reason, many people do not realise they have broken their nose and do not seek medical treatment.
Without treatment, people with nasal fractures can develop problems breathing and sleeping. A nasal fracture that heals without treatment may even cause deformity and facial imbalance. This is why it’s very important to consult with your doctor immediately after any injury to your face.
In a best-case scenario, I try to treat an injured nose within three to six hours from the time of injury.
3 Reasons to Treat Broken Noses with “Closed Reduction”
During the golden window within six hours of the time of injury, significant swelling has not yet occurred. This allows me to treat the nose with an immediate closed reduction. A closed reduction is the medical term for resetting the broken bone without actually opening up the nose surgically.
Closed reduction surgery is a desirable treatment option because
- Setting the bone can be done with a local anaesthetic
- There will be no incision resulting from the procedure
- A closed reduction procedure does not leave scars
What Happens During a Closed Reduction for a Broken Nose?
I encourage patients to begin using a saline nasal spray twenty-four hours before their procedure until about one week after surgery. Saline promotes healing, removes old blood, and helps move mucus out of the nose
During a closed reduction procedure, I use a nasal speculum to open my patient’s nostrils. Then I use a special instrument to help me realign broken bones and cartilage and return them to their original positions.
Pain following closed reduction of a nasal fracture is generally mild and can be treated with over-the-counter analgesics. It is likely to subside in the first few days after the treatment. There will also be swelling and bruising.
Can We Answer Your Questions?
If you’d like more information about treating a broken nose or you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our offices on 1300 555 095. You can also use email or the ‘book consultation’ feature of this website to make an appointment.
Be sure to come back soon to read my next blog. In it, I’ll talk about treatments that can take a broken nose from “immediately repaired” to “beautifully restored.”
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Meet Dr Marcells
MBBS (Syd), FRACS (ORL-HNS)
Past President – Australasian Academy of Facial Plastic Surgeons
Dr George Marcells is known for excellence in facial plastic surgery and is considered a true master of rhinoplasty. He performs advanced surgical techniques to restore balance and harmony to the face and can also resolve functional issues such as breathing difficulties.