What is a Nasal Fracture?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2019
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A nasal fracture is a break of the nose. Broken noses are extremely common facial injuries, thanks to the fact that the nose projects from the face, and consequently tends to get in the way of things like flying fists. People can incur nasal fractures in falls, sports events, and fights, and it is usually readily apparent when someone's nose is broken. Depending on the severity of the fracture, a broken nose may heal on its own, or it may require medical intervention.

Both bone and cartilage are present in the nose, and both can be involved in a nasal fracture. Typically, when someone's nose is broken, it is bloodied, and it may appear out of position or distorted. Swelling usually onsets very rapidly, and the patient may experience considerable pain. Some patients feel a grating or gritty sensation in the nose. In some cases, a break can lead to immediate difficulty breathing or to other complications.


There are several concerns with a broken nose. One is a deviated septum or a blood clot in the septum, which can cause complications. In addition, sometimes people experience leakage of cerebrospinal fluid from the nose after a nasal fracture; if someone with a broken nose starts to leak clear fluid from the nose, this can be a sign of a complication. In addition, a broken nose can heal poorly, causing distress because it may be aesthetically unappealing, or leading to breathing problems in the future because of the distortion in shape.

The immediate treatment for a nasal fracture is ice to bring down the swelling, along with medications for pain management such as aspirin. The patient's head should be kept elevated, and the patient should be checked for signs of concussion and other complications which can occur as a result of head trauma.

If someone with a nasal fracture starts to have trouble breathing or demonstrates an altered level of consciousness or other neurological signs like confusion, slurred speech, or erratic behavior, it is time to go to the emergency room. It can also be advisable to make an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat specialist within a few days of the break so that the nose can be examined. If the break is severe, it may require surgery or other measures. A reconstructive plastic surgeon can also be involved in deciding whether or not surgery will be needed to correct the appearance of the nose after a fracture.


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Post 2

@raynbow- Chances are that you did cause some damage to your nose when you fell on it, though you may not have been aware of it at the time. The impact could have dislocated your septum, and over the years, the problem has gotten worse as it has shifted over time. If this is the case, then a septoplasty may be the type of procedure you will need to correct the problem.

Only a surgeon who specializes in the nose can tell for sure what your problem is, and what needs to be done to fix it. You should start your search for an answer to your problem by asking your doctor to refer you to a plastic surgeon or an ear, nose and throat specialist. He or she will examine your nose, take x-rays if needed, and give you a treatment plan that will work for you.

Post 1

When I was younger, I fell on my nose and experienced a lot of bleeding and bruising. I didn't want to make a big deal out of the situation, so I treated it with ice packs instead of going to see my doctor. Now I think that this was a big mistake because several years later, I am now experiencing frequent nasal symptoms like stuffy nose and nose bleeds.

I'm wondering if it is likely that my injury caused my septum to be deviated, and if so, what can be done about it now after all this time?

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