Since the nose projects prominently from the middle of the face, it is the most commonly broken bone on the head. Frequently caused by sports injuries or falls, a broken nose can be very painful and significantly change the facial appearance and the ability to breathe through both nostrils. Symptoms suggestive of a broken nose may include a significant amount of pain and a nosebleed at the time of the injury, with difficulty breathing through one or both nostrils. "Black eyes" and a slightly crooked nose or bump following the injury may also indicate a fractured nose.
After an injury to the nose, it is important to see a primary care doctor or emergency room physician to check for a septal hematoma. If a septal hematoma is present, it must be treated promptly to prevent complications.
If you suspect your nose may be broken, a prompt evaluation by Dr. Bryan or Dr. Mettman 4-5 days after the injury (to allow swelling to subside) is critical to determine if a fracture needs surgical repair. If your nose is broken but not out of position (non-displaced fracture), you may need no further treatment. If the bones are displaced (pushed out of their normal alignment) they can be realigned under general anesthesia. If left untreated for more than 2 weeks, a displaced nasal fracture may not be able to be realigned for several months, until the fracture has completely healed to prevent complications of nasal deformity. This delayed surgical repair requires a septorhinoplasty procedure, which is a much more extensive and expensive surgery, with less predictable results.
Please see Preparing for Your Appointment to bring all important information.