Breaking your nose is never a pleasant experience, but is very common. Most fractures of the nose occur between the ages of 15 through to 25.
Breaking your nose is caused by a direct blow to the nose. The direct blow to the nose causes the nasal bones as well as the septum to break. The commonest methods of fracturing the nose include:
- Sporting injury – either head clash or elbow to the nose
- Recreational – accidental trauma from activities such as jet ski riding or horse riding
- Car accidents
Symptoms and Signs
It is very common to have bleeding immediately following a fracture of the nose. This bleeding will almost always be self limiting if you squeeze the tip of the nose between 2 fingers and put your head forward with your mouth open. Squeezing the upper part of your nose will not be effective at stopping the bleeding.
Following the bleeding there is obvious swelling of the external skin of the nose and may be nasal obstruction as well. This is the time to place ice on the nose as it will reduce further swelling of the nose and decrease the pain associated with the fracture.
Short term considerations
Immediately after you fracture your nose there are 2 immediate considerations, potential presence of a septal hematoma and any cosmetic deformity.
A septal hematoma is where there is a collection of blood under the mucosa (lining) of the septum. This is a concern because it can cause the septum to die due to lack of blood supply. A septal hematoma should only be excluded by an ENT surgeon as it requires the use of specialised equipment to rule this condition out. If you have a septal hematoma, then Dr Robinson will advise very strongly that you should have an operation as the risks of leaving it are considerable.
Cosmetic deformity from a fractured nose is very common. If you feel there has been a change in the appearance of your nose then you should see Dr Robinson within 10 days of the injury. The urgency of the appointment is because there is a limited amount of time to reposition the nose back to a more midline position.
Long term considerations
Once all of the swelling of the nose has decreased and a few months have passed since the fracture there are some other considerations – Nasal obstruction and any cosmetic deformity.
Nasal obstruction from a fractured nose is very common. Initially the nose may feel very blocked but over time this may lessen as the body adjusts. However, if the nasal obstruction persists then you may need to consider having either a septoplasty and turbinoplasty or a functional rhinoplasty to correct the nasal obstruction.
Cosmetic deformity after breaking your nose can be significant and you may want to have it corrected. If you do want to have it corrected, then Dr Robinson would recommend a rhinoplasty which addresses the cosmetic concerns in relation to the nose as well as the functional problems which you are having.