NASAL FRACTURES

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IntegratedENT - Nasal Fractures

In Denver and Lone Tree, Colorado

A broken nose (nasal fracture) is the most commonly broken bone on the face. Getting struck on the nose, whether by another person, a door, or the floor is not pleasant. Your nose will hurt—usually a lot. You’ll likely have a nose bleed and soon find it difficult to breathe through your nose. Swelling develops both inside and outside the nose, and you may get dark bruises around your eyes (“black eyes”).

Nasal fractures can affect both bone and cartilage. A collection of blood (called a “septal hematoma”) can sometimes form on the nasal septum (a wall made of bone and cartilage inside the nose that separates the sides of the nose).

Nasal fractures, or broken noses, result from facial injuries in contact sports or falls. Injuries affecting the teeth and mouth may also affect the nose.

You can prevent a nasal fracture by:

  • Wear protective gear to shield your face when participating in contact sports.
  • Avoid fistfights.

When to Visit a Doctor for A Broken Nose

If you’ve been struck in the nose, it’s important to see one of our ENT doctors to check for septal hematoma. If you suspect your nose may be broken, see an ENT head and neck surgeon within 1 week of the injury. If you are seen within 1 to 2 weeks, it may be possible to repair your nose immediately. If you wait longer than 2 weeks (1 week for children) you will likely need to wait several months before your nose can be surgically straightened and fixed.

If left untreated, a broken nose can leave you with an undesirable appearance as well as permanent difficulty in trying to breathe.

Treatment Options for a Broken Nose

If your nose is broken but not out of position, you may not need any treatment other than rest and being careful not to bump your nose. If your nose is broken so badly that it needs to be repositioned, call our office and one of our ENT doctors will determine the best treatment option. In some situations, you can have your nose repaired in the office. The ENT doctor will give you some local anesthesia, reposition the broken bones into place, and then hold them in the right location with a “cast” made of plastic, plaster, or metal. This cast will then stay in place for a week. A similar approach, using general anesthesia in the operating room, may also be used.

If more than 2 weeks have passed since the time of your injury, you may need to wait a while before having your nose straightened surgically. It may be necessary to wait for 2 to 3 months before a good repair can be done, by which time there will be less swelling and your nose will have begun to heal. Reduced swelling will allow the surgeon to get a more accurate picture of how your nose originally looked. This type of surgery is considered reconstructive plastic surgery, as its goal is to restore your appearance to the way it was prior to the injury. If your repair is done within 2 weeks of the injury, restoring prior appearance is the only possible goal. If you have waited several months for the repair, it is often possible to change the appearance of your nose as you desire.

Contact Us

If you have suffered a broken nose, contact Integrated ENT at (303) 706-1616 to schedule an appointment. You may also request an appointment online.