Your nose is made up of two bones that form the bridge and a long piece of cartilage that divides your nostrils. When you fracture your nose, the bone, the cartilage or both can shift to one side. Below we review everything you need to know about recovering from a broken nose.
Signs & Symptoms of a Nasal Fracture
Your nose may be broken if you experience…
- Crooked shape
- Difficulty breathing
What the Doctor Will Do
When you see your doctor for a nasal fracture, they’ll first order an x-ray to determine that the nose is actually broken. They may also order a CT scan to confirm or rule out a more severe injury.
If you experience a nosebleed that doesn’t stop, they’ll pack the nose with gauze to stop the bleeding. If you have an open fracture, where the skin is cut, you may need stitches and antibiotics.
Many people who break their nose experience a nasal septal hematoma, which is a collection of blood within the septum – or the cartilage that divides the nostrils. This is because trauma to the nose disrupts the blood vessels, so blood may collect under the lining. If this happens, the provider may drain it.
If surgery is necessary, you may have to wait a week or two to allow swelling to go down so a complete assessment can be made. The surgery may be performed by a plastic surgeon or an ear, nose and throat (ENT) physician.
How to Care for a Broken Nose at Home
After seeing a doctor, there’s a few things you can do at home to seek relief for your broken nose:
- Be sure to rest and avoid strenuous activity and contact sports where you could bump your nose, like playing basketball at Goodyear Recreation Campus.
- Ice your nose for 20 minutes every hour or two. Be sure to put a cloth between the ice and your skin.
- Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen as needed for pain. Be sure to wait until at least 24 hours after your nose has stopped bleeding.
- Keep your head elevated to improve breathing and reduce swelling.
For more information about healing a broken nose or to schedule an appointment with a nose expert, call Arizona Desert Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists today.