Most blunt force nasal injuries come without warning and can be extremely disorienting. Whether it was a car accident, an unexpected fall, sports activity, or your nose got in the way of a door, the result of this sudden impact can cause varying degrees of damage. The first step is to reduce swelling as quickly as possible with ice and over-the-counter acetaminophen (as directed) so you can accurately assess the full extent of your injuries. However, if you are suffering from severe bleeding that won’t stop, bones appear to be forced to one side, or have trouble breathing, it is wise to seek prompt medical attention.
Generally, nose injuries can be divided into progressive levels of treatment. Based on your symptoms, your physician should be able to determine if your nose injury can be resolved without surgery or if the trauma is severe enough to require a surgery to fix your broken nose:
- Mild — If your injury does not show any crooked or misshapen nose structures and most of the bleeding/swelling has stopped, your physician will most likely advise continued rest and healing at home with mild medication.
- Moderate — If your injury appears to be a fracture with slightly displaced bones and/or cartilage of your nose, your physician may be able to manually realign your nose in-office using a splint and surgical tools. Sometimes this requires repair in the operating room. This generally needs to be performed in the first ~ 2 weeks after your injury before the injury has healed.
- Severe — If your symptoms include excessive or continuous bleeding, a deviated septum, or constant difficulty breathing through your nose (after swelling has resolved), your physician may recommend surgery. This may include internal nasal surgery including septoplasty, nasal bone fracture reduction, and sometimes rhinoplasty. The procedure is tailored to restore the form and function to your nasal framework and ease breathing difficulties.
If left untreated, nasal fractures can lead to permanent breathing issues caused by nasal blockage or collapse, so it’s important to seek professional medical advice. Additionally, severe breaks that have gone untreated longer than 14 days may increase the likelihood of needing a more involved corrective surgical procedure.
If you have a nose injury and require surgical attention, double board-certified facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Emily Hrisomalos, can review your injuries and create a rhinoplasty treatment plan to fix any cosmetic damage and help repair breathing problems. Please contact our Zionsville practice today to schedule a consultation.