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 be able to realign your nose manually, or you may need surgery.
If the break has displaced the bones and cartilage in your nose, your doctor may be able to manually realign them. This needs to be done within 14 days from when the fracture occurred, preferably sooner.
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
Your doctor will also splint your nose using packing in your nose and a dressing on the outside. Sometimes, an internal splint is also necessary for a short time. The packing usually needs to stay in for a week. You'll also be given a prescription for antibiotics to prevent infection with the bacteria that may normally reside in your nose.
Severe breaks, multiple breaks or breaks that have gone untreated for more than 14 days may not be candidates for manual realignment. In these cases, surgery to realign the bones and reshape your nose may be necessary.
If the break has damaged your nasal septum, causing obstruction or difficulty breathing, reconstructive surgery may be recommended. Surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis.
June 18, 2014
- Stone CK, et al., eds. Current Diagnosis & Treatments: Emergency Medicine. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=385&Sectionid=40357238. Accessed April 14, 2014.
- Mayersak R. Facial trauma in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 14, 2014.
- Mendez DR, et al. Nasal trauma and fractures in children. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 14, 2014.
- Fractures of the nose. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries_poisoning/facial_trauma/fractures_of_the_nose.html. Accessed April 18, 2014.
- Doherty GM. eds. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Surgery. 13th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=343&Sectionid=39702829. Accessed April 14, 2014.
- Nasal fractures. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/Nasal-Fractures.cfm. Accessed April 24, 2014.
- Blum DJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 23, 2014.
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