Nasal Fractures

The nose is a unique part of the body in that it protrudes from the face. Because of its vulnerable location on the face, and because it is made up of both cartilage and bone, the nose is always at risk of injury. This is especially true for athletes in sports such as volleyball, basketball, or football, where bodily contact with other players or a fast-moving ball is common. In fact, most recreational nasal fractures happen during athletic events.  Other reasons for a broken nose include car accidents, physical altercations, and other, non-sports-related accidents. A fracture can affect both the cartilage and bones of the nose. Also, a nasal fracture can sometimes cause a collection of blood that forms near the wall between the nostrils (septal hematoma).

Dr. Babak Azizzadeh of the CENTER for Advanced Facial Plastic Surgery in Los Angeles can diagnose and treat a fractured nose. He is a broken nose surgery 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 broken nose 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

It’s important to meet with a doctor within a few hours of a nose injury. This allows a patient to receive treatment for the break and find out if he or she is dealing with any potentially serious issues as a result of the broken nose. An untreated septal hematoma, for example, can become infected and lead to necrosis (death of body tissue), resulting in a permanent nose deformity. Symptoms of a septal hematoma include a sensation of blockage in the nose, difficulty breathing, and major swelling. In addition, immediate diagnosis and treatment of a nose injury ensure that a doctor can identify and treat any 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 bone fracture is a break in one of the two paired bones known as the nasal bones, which form the bridge of the nose. A broken nose can refer to a fracture in the nasal bones or in the several skull bones, which also contribute to the nasal complex. The trapezoid-shaped vomer bone, which serves as a wall to separate the nasal cavity in two, along with parts of the ethmoid, maxilla, and frontal bones, all help make up the human nose.

Proper diagnosis of any damage to the nose area is key to a smoother healing process. This ensures that patients can receive comprehensive testing to determine what type of broken nose they have.

How Is a Fractured Nose Diagnosed?

A patient should Seek out medical treatment following any damage to the nose. An emergency medical doctor may refer you to a specialist such as 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 then determine if a patient is dealing with a nasal bone fracture or broken nose and provide him or her with a custom treatment. Each treatment is tailored to a patient’s specific circumstances 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
  • Pain and tenderness in the affected area
  • Development of bruises around the eyes or nose
  • Feeling as though there is a blockage in 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?

It’s best to avoid delaying treatment for a broken nose. An urgent care or emergency room doctor can rule out potential complications and tell patients what to do for a broken nose. In the days following an injury, nose swelling and moderate pain may subside on their own, but it’s still a good idea to undergo a medical examination of the injured area.

It is crucial to seek out medical treatment if any of the following symptoms occur in conjunction with nose swelling and pain at any time during or after the injury:

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

A fever can indicate a potentially serious infection, and a misshapen or crooked nose may need urgent treatment to avoid further damage. Other complications that can arise following a fractured nose include:

  • Deviated septum:this occurs when the nasal septum, or the slim wall between the nostrils, gets pushed to one side.
  • Cartilage damage:just as the bone can become broken during trauma, so can the cartilage that helps support it.
  • Septal hematoma:when pools of blood form in the nose due to a break, it’s called a septal hematoma.

Dr. Azizzadeh can help monitor an injury and repair complications such as a deviated septum, cartilage damage, or septal hematoma.

How to Treat a Nasal Fracture

For a minor break, nasal fracture treatment often involves the use of a splint and realignment of the nose in a procedure known as nasal fracture reduction.

Major breaks may require surgery to fix a broken nose performed by an expert like Dr. Azizzadeh. In rare instances, a fracture may be associated with an injury to the eye or brain, and as such, it 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.

What is Broken Nose Surgery?

Dr. Azizzadeh may recommend broken nose surgery for several reasons. If there is serious damage or breakage in any of the bones within the nasal complex, surgery will be required to repair the fractures. A deviated septum requires surgery to repair, as does broken cartilage. If a person’s break is minor but continues to swell, bleed, and impair breathing in the weeks after nasal fracture reduction, nose fracture surgery may be needed to address these issues.

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. Many broken nose patients undergo multiple surgeries, from an initial repair to a later reconstructive rhinoplasty, to help restore the nose to a version of its original form. At the CENTER for Advanced Facial Plastic Surgery, Dr. Azizzadeh will create a customized treatment plan for patients in need of repair following a traumatic nose injury.

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 likely experience swelling and bruising post nose surgery and will need to keep the head elevated to aid the healing process… Swelling and bruising typically disappear a few weeks after broken nose surgery.

In order to aid recovery, a patient may require a nasal split. A patient’s nasal splint is typically a short lived brace for the nose and may be removed by the doctor approximately one week after a broken nose surgery. Along with a nasal splint, a patient may require a soft, light diet following their procedure . 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 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.

Am I a Good 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 as well as respond to additional patient questions regarding nasal fracture repair.

What to Do if You Have a Nasal Fracture

After a nasal fracture, seek out medical care immediately. Follow all of your healthcare provider’s instructions and 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.

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. Most health insurance plans will cover some or all of the cost of repairing a broken nose and restoring its functionality, which is another reason not to delay nose fracture repair.

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. In addition, 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.

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh Today

Dr. Azizzadeh offers free in-person and virtual consultations to people who are considering a cosmetic procedure. To find out more, please contact us today at 310-657-2203 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh.

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