If you have a minor fracture that hasn't caused your nose to become crooked or otherwise misshapen, you may not need professional medical treatment. Your doctor may recommend simple self-care measures, such as using ice on the area and taking over-the-counter pain medications.
Fixing displacements and breaks
Your doctor may use either closed reduction or surgery.
If the break has displaced the bones and cartilage in your nose, your doctor may be able to manually realign them with a nonsurgical procedure called closed reduction. Closed reduction should be conducted no more than 14 days after the fracture.
During this procedure, your doctor:
- Administers medication by injection or nasal spray to ease discomfort
- Opens your nostrils with a nasal speculum
- Uses special instruments to help realign your broken bones and cartilage
Severe breaks, multiple breaks or breaks that have gone untreated for more than 14 days may not be candidates for closed reduction. In these cases, surgery to realign the bones and reshape your nose (rhinoplasty) may be necessary.
If the break has damaged your nasal septum, causing obstruction or difficulty breathing, reconstructive surgery called septorhinoplasty may be recommended.
Both surgeries typically are performed on an outpatient basis. Discomfort, swelling and bruising — common side effects — usually improve significantly after about one week.
Jul. 06, 2011
- Pope TT, et al. Maxillofacial and neck trauma. In: Stone CK, et al. Current Diagnosis and Treatment: Emergency Medicine. 6th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Medical; 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=3101510. Accessed May 25, 2011.
- Fractures of the nose. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec21/ch312/ch312d.html. Accessed May 25, 2011.
- Ondik MP, et al. The treatment of nasal fractures: A changing paradigm. Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery. 2009;11:296.
- Mendez DR, et al. Nasal trauma and fractures in children. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed April 21, 2011.
- Nasal fractures. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/Nasal-Fractures.cfm. Accessed May 25, 2011.