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Nasal Fractures

A nasal fracture can occur due to nose trauma or a facial injury. It can affect both the cartilage and bones of the nose. Also, a nasal fracture can sometimes cause 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 can diagnose and treat a fractured nose. He is a nasal fracture repair expert who is dual board-certified in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and otolaryngology (head and neck surgery). 

To date, Dr. Azizzadeh has helped many patients address fractures to the nose. He can evaluate patients dealing with a nose fracture and find a safe, effective way to treat this issue.

What Is a Nasal Fracture?

A nose fracture often refers to a break in the bones or cartilage over the bridge of the nose, or damage to the nasal septum. The fracture can make it difficult to breathe through the nose. It can also result in an asymmetrical facial appearance.

Common Causes of a Nasal Fracture

There are many reasons why a break in the bones or cartilage over the bridge of the nose or nasal septum can occur. These include:

    • Falls
    • Car accidents
    • Physical fights
    • Contact sports (like football, basketball, or lacrosse)

A nose fracture can be painful, but treatment options are available to address this issue. Those who can quickly identify the symptoms of a nose fracture can pursue treatment options to realign the nose and ensure it functions properly.

What Are the Symptoms of a Fractured Nose?

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

Within a few hours of a nose injury, meet with a doctor. This allows a patient to find out if he or she is dealing with a septal hematoma that can cause necrosis (death of body tissue). In addition, immediate diagnosis and treatment of a nose injury ensures that a patient 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.

How Does a Nasal Bone Fracture Differ from a Broken Nose?

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

Proper diagnosis of any damage to the nose is key. This ensures that a patient can receive comprehensive testing to determine if he or she is dealing with a fractured or broken nose. 

How Is a Fractured Nose Diagnosed?

Seek out medical treatment following any damage to the nose. And, those who believe they are dealing with a nose fracture can consult with Dr. Azizzadeh. At this time, Dr. Azizzadeh can perform tests to diagnose a nose fracture or broken nose. 

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 be used to help Dr. Azizzadeh assess a patient’s nose and understand the severity of their condition.

Dr. Azizzadeh can determine if a patient is dealing with a nasal fracture or broken nose and provide him or her with a custom treatment. Each treatment is tailored to a patient to ensure that he or she can achieve a functional nose that complements their 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 notice any signs of a broken nose, seek medical help immediately. This ensures that medical personnel can evaluate a patient and determine if their nose is broken.

How Long Should You Wait to Pursue Treatment for a Nose Injury?

Those who experience nose swelling and moderate pain may want to wait before they pursue medical treatment. By waiting a few days, nasal swelling and pain may subside on its own. 

If nose swelling and pain do not disappear within three to five days of onset, consult with a doctor. It is also crucial to seek out medical treatment if any of the following symptoms occur in conjunction with nose swelling and pain during this time:

    • Frequent and recurring nosebleeds
    • Fever
    • Difficulty breathing through the nose
    • Misshapen or crooked nose after swelling subsides

Meanwhile, anyone who experiences severe nose trauma should meet with a doctor right away. The doctor can then determine if a patient is dealing with a fractured or broken nose and treat the trauma before it causes permanent damage.

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 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 nasal bones and cartilage 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. 

During a nasal fracture reduction procedure, a patient receives medication via injection or nasal spray. Their nostrils are then opened with a nasal speculum (instrument used to widen the nostrils). Next, any broken bones and cartilage are realigned to ensure that the nose functions correctly.

Am I a Candidate for Nose Fracture Repair?

Dr. Azizzadeh takes a holistic approach to determine the best treatment for nose fractures. He meets with a patient and evaluates their condition and facial features. Dr. Azizzadeh’s goal is to repair a fractured nose and ensure that it is natural-looking and functional. To accomplish his goal, Dr. Azizzadeh performs a patient assessment and provides a personalized nasal fracture treatment recommendation.

Patient education is important, particularly when it comes to repairing a fractured nose. Dr. Azizzadeh strives to teach his patients about all available treatments for nasal fractures. He can address a patient’s nasal fracture concerns prior to treatment. If a patient has questions about nasal fracture repair, Dr. Azizzadeh can respond to them.

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 fractured nose repair. This is typically done within seven to 10 days, but not longer than 10 days. If 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, mild swelling and short nosebleeds can occur.

On the other hand, if someone suffers a severe nasal fracture, the nose can become deformed. In this scenario, severe nosebleeds, a blocked nostril, and/or airflow problems can occur.  

Ultimately, if someone believes their nose is broken, it is always better to err on the side of caution. By meeting with a doctor, anyone can take the necessary steps to treat 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. Furthermore, patients may undergo a rhinoplasty or septorhinoplasty (which may be used to treat a nasal septum fracture) to treat a fractured nose.

Fractured Nose Treatment Complications

Complications that can arise following treatment of a fractured nose include:

    • Deviated septum
    • Cartilage damage
    • Septal hematoma

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.

What to Expect After Treatment for a Fractured Nose

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

Dr. Azizzadeh offers recommendations to help patients relieve pain during the fractured nose 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

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. 

A patient may require a nasal splint. Swelling and bruising typically disappears a few weeks after broken nose surgery. A patient’s nasal splint may be removed approximately one week after a broken nose procedure. 

Along with a nasal splint, a patient may require a soft, light diet following broken nose surgery. He or she may also be prescribed antibiotics and asked to avoid strenuous activity after treatment. 

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

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

It usually takes a few weeks to recover from broken nose surgery. Full results of treatment for a nasal fracture become visible within one to two years. 

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. Comparatively, wearing a seat belt when driving in a car can help lower the risk of a nasal fracture during a car accident.

Schedule a Fractured Nose 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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