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Nasal Fractures

A nasal fracture occurs due to trauma and facial injury. It may affect both the cartilage and bones of the nose. Also, a nasal fracture sometimes causes a septal hematoma (collection of blood that forms near the wall between the nostrils).

Dr. Babak Azizzadeh of the CENTER for Advanced Facial Plastic Surgery in Los Angeles is a nasal fracture repair expert. He is double board certified in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, as well as otolaryngology (head and neck surgery). Dr. Azizzadeh’s unique expertise has helped him become a globally recognized facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon who is capable of performing safe, effective nasal fracture repair procedures.

What Is a Nasal Fracture?

Nasal fractures commonly impact individuals who participate in contact sports like football, basketball or lacrosse, and many nasal fractures occur in conjunction with trauma or injury due to accidents. A nasal fracture may refer to a break in the bones or cartilage over the bridge of the nose or damage to the nasal septum.

A nasal fracture and a broken nose are not identical. Whereas a nasal fracture causes the nose to appear visibly crooked, a broken nose occurs when any of the nasal bones are broken.

If an individual suffers any damage to the nose, it is important for him or her to seek immediate medical treatment. Within a few hours of a nose injury, an individual should meet with a doctor to make sure that he or she does not have a septal hematoma – something that may cause necrosis (death of body tissue). Additionally, immediate diagnosis and treatment of a nose injury ensures an individual can identify potential leakage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a clear liquid that fills and surrounds the brain and the spinal cord and provides a mechanical barrier against shock.

What Are the Symptoms of a Nasal Fracture?

Common nasal bone fracture symptoms include:

  • Nose pain
  • Crooked nose
  • Swelling on the outside or bridge of the nose
  • Bleeding from inside or outside the nose
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Bruising around the eyes

If an individual believes that he or she is dealing with a nose fracture or broken nose, consulting with Dr. Azizzadeh is beneficial. Dr. Azizzadeh can perform tests to diagnose a nose fracture or broken nose, then provide a patient with a personalized treatment.

How Is a Nasal Fracture Diagnosed?

To diagnose a nasal bone fracture, Dr. Azizzadeh analyzes a patient’s nose and facial appearance. An X-ray, CT scan and other tests can also be used to help Dr. Azizzadeh assess a patient’s nose and understand the severity of his or her condition.

If Dr. Azizzadeh determines that a patient is dealing with a nasal fracture or broken nose, he tailors a treatment to this individual. Each treatment is customized to a patient to ensure that he or she can achieve a functional nose that complements the facial features.

How to Tell If Your Nose Is Broken

Signs of a broken nose include:

  • Heavy bleeding from the nose that does not stop
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Crooked and/or misshapen nose
  • Clear fluid that drains from the nose

For those who experience any signs of a broken nose, seek medical help immediately. This ensures medical personnel can evaluate a patient and determine if the nose is broken.

How to Treat a Nasal Fracture

Nasal fracture treatment often involves the use of a splint and realignment of the nose. In rare instances, a nasal fracture may be associated with an injury to the eye or brain, and as such, requires careful evaluation.

What Is Nasal Fracture Reduction?

Nasal fracture reduction is used to treat acute nasal fractures. It involves realignment of bones and cartilage in the nose to help patients breathe comfortably through the nose.

Manual realignment is often used for nasal fracture reduction. Realignment of displaced bones and cartilage typically needs to be done within 14 days of when a patient experiences a broken nose. At this time, a patient receives medication via injection or nasal spray, and their nostrils are opened with a nasal speculum (instrument used to widen the nostrils). Next, any broken bones and cartilage are realigned to ensure the nose functions properly.

Am I a Candidate for Nasal Fracture Repair?

Dr. Azizzadeh takes a holistic approach to determine the best treatment for nasal fractures. He meets with a patient, evaluates his or her condition and studies this individual’s facial features closely. Dr. Azizzadeh’s goal is to repair a nasal fracture and ensure that a patient’s nose is natural-looking and functional. He performs a comprehensive patient assessment to provide a personalized nasal fracture treatment recommendation.

If a patient has questions about nasal fracture repair, Dr. Azizzadeh can respond to them. Dr. Azizzadeh strives to educate and inform patients about all available treatments and addresses each patient’s nasal fracture concerns prior to treatment.

What To Do if You Have a Nasal Fracture

After a nasal fracture, the nose needs to settle for a few days after the trauma. Routinely apply ice on and off for 72 hours then apply heat for bruising. After four to five days, if the nose is still crooked because of bone displacement, then they are likely a good candidate for a nose fracture repair. This is typically done within seven to 10 days,  but not longer than 10 days. If the cartilage has been dislodged (upper lateral cartilage is the most commonly dislodged), that cannot be repaired until six to 12 months later.

Will a Broken Nose Heal on Its Own?

A broken nose generally heals on its own within four weeks. If the problem persists beyond four weeks, it is important to meet with a doctor. In this instance, a doctor may recommend nose surgery or other treatment options to correct a broken nose.

What Will Happen If a Broken Nose Goes Untreated?

What happens if a broken nose goes untreated often varies based on the severity of the trauma. If a person suffers a mild nasal fracture, the nose may heal on its own over the course of a few weeks. Or, this individual may experience mild swelling and short nosebleeds. On the other hand, if a person suffers a severe nasal fracture, the nose may become deformed. In this scenario, an individual may suffer from severe nosebleeds, a blocked nostril or airflow problems.

Ultimately, if a person believes his or her nose is broken, it is always better to err on the side of caution. By meeting with a doctor, an individual can take the necessary steps to treat any nose trauma.

What to Expect During Nasal Fracture Treatment

Nasal fracture treatment varies based on the severity of a broken nose. If a patient experiences a minor nasal bone fracture, the nose may be realigned manually.

If a patient experiences a severe break or multiple breaks of the nose, surgery may be required. Nasal fracture surgery may require reshaping the nose and/or realignment of the nasal bones.

The severity of a nasal fracture dictates the length of time required to complete surgery. In addition, patients may undergo a rhinoplasty or septorhinoplasty (which may be used to treat a nasal septum fracture) for effective nasal fracture treatment.

Full results of treatment for a nasal fracture become visible within one to two years of treatment. Dr. Azizzadeh provides instructions to help patients avoid complications during treatment recovery. He also requests follow-up appointments to track a patient’s recovery after a nasal fracture procedure.

How Long Does It Take to Recover from Broken Nose Surgery?

It usually takes a few weeks to recover from broken nose surgery. In the week after nose surgery, a patient often requires plenty of rest. He or she will need to keep the head elevated and experience swelling and bruising post-nose surgery. Also, a patient may require a nasal splint. Swelling and bruising typically disappears a few weeks after broken nose surgery. Additionally, a patient’s nasal splint may be removed approximately one week after a broken nose procedure.

A patient may require a soft, light diet following broke nose surgery as well. He or she will also be prescribed antibiotics and asked to avoid strenuous activity after treatment.

Nose surgery patients are given postoperative care instructions following treatment, too. Dr. Azizzadeh is available to respond to nose surgery patients’ postoperative care instructions to ensure each patient can fully recover.

Most nose surgery patients can resume exercise, swimming and other activities about four weeks after treatment. If any complications arise in the weeks following a nose surgery, a patient should consult with his or her doctor immediately.

Dr. Azizzadeh offers recommendations to help patients relieve pain during the nasal fracture treatment recovery process, such as:

  • Avoid any activities in which the nose could be bumped or injured
  • Apply ice to the nose to help reduce nose swelling
  • Take pain medication; in certain instances, Dr. Azizzadeh prescribes pain medication as part of a nasal fracture treatment program, and this medication should be used as directed
  • Keep the head elevated to alleviate swelling and improve breathing through the nose

If a patient has concerns or questions during the nasal fracture recovery process, Dr. Azizzadeh is available to respond to them. Dr. Azizzadeh tracks his patient’s progress throughout nasal fracture treatment recovery to ensure that he or she can achieve the best-possible results.

Are Nasal Fractures Preventable?

A nasal bone fracture is sometimes preventable if an individual takes precautions prior to engaging in physical activity. For example, wearing a face mask when playing hockey or a helmet when riding a bicycle can help reduce the risk of a nasal fracture. Additionally, wearing a seat belt when driving in a car can help lower the risk of a nasal fracture during a car accident.

Schedule a Nasal Fracture Treatment Consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh in Los Angeles Today

For those who are searching for effective nasal fracture treatment, there may be no better choice than Dr. Azizzadeh. To set up a consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh, please contact us today at 310-657-2203.

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