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Nose Fracture

(Broken Nose)

Definition

A nose fracture is a break in the bones of the nose.
Facial Bones
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Causes

A nose fracture is caused by a blunt, hard blow to the nose. It often occurs along with injuries to other parts of the nose and face.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of a nose fracture include:

Symptoms

A nose fracture may cause:

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and how the injury occurred, and will examine your nose and face for:
Although not necessary, imaging tests may be done to confirm the fracture, and check its location and severity. They usually are not done until the inflammation goes down. Imaging tests may include:

Treatment

Treatment depends on the severity of the fracture. If your nose is broken and in position, the only treatment you will need is home care. It is important to be careful to not bump your nose while it heals. More severe fractures may need realignment or surgery.

Ice

Ice helps reduce inflammation and pain. Apply an ice pack to your nose for 15-20 minutes at a time. Place a towel between the ice pack and your skin.

Medication

Prescription or over-the-counter medications may be given to help reduce inflammation and pain.

Realigning the Bones

If it is determined that your nose is out of position, obstructing your breathing, or causing other problems your doctor may:
  • Drain any blood that may have collected in or around the septum
  • Set the fracture by:
    • Moving the bone back to its normal position after the inflammation has gone down
    • Stabilizing the bone with gauze packing on the inside and a splint or tape on the outside

Surgery

Surgery may be needed to set the fracture if:
Surgery may be needed to set the fracture if:

Prevention

Nose fractures may not always be preventable, but you can reduce your risk:

RESOURCES

American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery http://cosmeticsurgery.org

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

The Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons http://www.plasticsurgery.ca

The College of Family Physicians of Canada http://www.cfpc.ca

References

Fractures of the nose. The Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries-poisoning/facial-trauma/fractures-of-the-nose. Updated March 2013. Accessed August 21, 2014.

Nasal fractures. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org/content/nasal-fractures. Accessed August 21, 2014.

Ondik MP, Lipinski L, Dezfoli S, Fedok FG. The treatment of nasal fractures: a changing paradigm. Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2009;11(5):296-302.

Rosen P, Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, Adams J. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA; Mosby Elsevier; 2006.

Rother T, Riechelmann H, Gronau S. Secondarily accelerated foreign bodies as a source of danger from airbag deployment. HNO. 2006;54(12):967-970.

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