A nasal fracture, also known as a broken nose, is most commonly caused by trauma such as a car accident or being struck in the face.
Symptoms of Nasal Fractures
- Pain to the nose and cheeks
- Swelling to the nose or underneath the eyes
- Noticeable deformity of the nose
- Nasal bleeding, usually short in duration
- Difficulty breathing through one or both sides of the nose
Diagnosing a Nasal Fracture
Nasal fractures can be diagnosed in one of two ways. A doctor can make the diagnosis through physical examination by looking at the nose and feeling for broken or mobile parts of the nasal bones. A doctor may also order diagnostic imaging, such as an x-ray or CT scan, to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for Nasal Fractures
Many factors determine whether or not a nasal fracture needs to be fixed. These include the extent of nasal deformity, if nasal obstruction is present, and how long has it been since the accident which caused the fracture. These should all be discussed with the surgeon during the clinic visit.
Not all nasal fractures need to be fixed with a procedure. If a fracture is non-displaced, or broken but still in its normal position, observation with avoidance of any contact to the nose is a good treatment option. If an obvious deformity exists or if a patient has difficulty breathing as a result of the fracture, a surgeon may recommend a procedure.
What is a Closed Nasal Reduction?
The term “closed” refers to the fact no incisions are made in the skin or nose to put the broken nasal bones back into place. The term “open” is used if an incision is made to fix a broken nose. The procedure is routinely done in the operating room under general anesthesia within 2 weeks of the accident which caused the broken nose. After the patient has successfully been placed under general anesthesia, the surgeon will insert a long straight instrument, often a Boies nasal elevator, into one or both sides of the nose to move the broken nasal bones back to their normal position. The surgeon will then put an adhesive splint on the nose to keeps the bones from moving out of place.