Commonly referred to as a broken nose, a nasal fracture is a break or crack in the bone in the patient’s nose. Contact with a fixed object, such as a door or wall can cause a break. Contact sports (like hockey and football) and motor vehicle accidents are common causes of a nasal fracture (broken nose).
Nasal Fracture Symptoms
Pain when touched, swelling of the nose and bleeding from the nose are common symptoms of a nasal fracture. If the patient has a nose injury accompanied by difficulty breathing, unstoppable bleeding and a noticeable change in the shape of their nose, they should seek medical attention as it is probably broken.
To confirm a nasal fracture, the doctor will perform a physical exam. He or she will press on the sides of the patient’s nose and look inside the nostrils for signs of broken bones. Topical anesthetics may be applied before the physical exam to control the pain. An imaging test is usually unnecessary, but based on the severity of the injury a CT scan may be required if a physical exam is too painful to be performed.
Treatment for a Nasal Fracture
The treatment for a nasal fracture depends on the severity. A minor fracture that has not changed the shape of the patient’s nose may not require medical attention at all and will heal on its own. Larger breaks will require the doctor to manually realign the patient’s nose. This procedure is performed with injected anesthesia. A nasal speculum is inserted into the nostrils and with the help of other specialty instruments the patient’s broken nose and cartilage are put back into place. An internal and external splint will be attached to help keep the patient’s nose in place while the bone heals. For severe breaks surgery may be needed.