What is involved in treating a nasal fracture?

nasal fracture

The nose is the third-most commonly broken bone in the body. Like any other fracture, a broken nose may be mild or severe, but it takes only a small displacement of the bones or cartilage to affect your breathing. The trauma that caused your broken nose may also result in damage to your sinuses and other facial structures.

Here at Broward ENT Services, we specialize in treating nasal fractures, restoring your nose’s original shape, and preventing the complications that can develop from a broken nose.

Here’s the information you need to know about treating a nasal fracture, but if you have any questions, call one of the offices in Plantation or Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Why you need immediate attention for a nasal fracture

When you suffer an injury to your nose — even if you don’t think your nose is broken — it’s important to come in for an examination. When an undiagnosed fracture heals without being properly treated, you’re at risk for developing a nose deformity.

Getting early treatment is important because a broken nose can be manually realigned only within two weeks of your injury. After that time, the bones and cartilage have started to heal, and you’ll need surgery to reshape your nose.

We also encourage patients to come in as quickly as possible because we’re concerned about complications. Severe nasal fractures are often accompanied by damage to the surrounding structures. It’s also common for a hematoma to develop inside the nose following trauma severe enough to cause a fracture.

A hematoma is a swollen area that’s filled with blood due to a broken blood vessel. The pressure caused by an untreated hematoma may displace the septum or damage the cartilage and cause a nose deformity.

Medical treatment for a nasal fracture

Nose fractures are diagnosed with a visual examination. We stop any bleeding and apply a local anesthetic to ensure your comfort, then examine the inside of your nose. We also gently manipulate the bone, cartilage, and septum to check for fractures and deformities. You’ll undergo diagnostic imaging like a CT scan if we suspect damage to facial structures.

Minor nose fractures in which your bones are not displaced need only simple treatment such as applying ice to reduce swelling. We may also prescribe medications such as decongestants to help you breathe and NSAIDs to relieve pain and inflammation.

A hematoma requires immediate treatment. If we find a hematoma, we drain the blood and may insert a temporary drain to prevent more blood from accumulating. Then the area is packed with a gauze-like material, and you’ll receive a prescription for antibiotics to prevent an infection.

Procedures to repair your nasal fracture

When your bone or cartilage is displaced, we repair it using a procedure called a reduction. During a reduction, we realign the structures and restore your nose to its normal shape.

The best time for a reduction is within the first three hours after your injury. However, a closed reduction may be done up to 7-10 days after the fracture. If you wait longer than 10-14 days, the structures have healed too much to be manipulated back into place. When that happens, we have to perform surgery.

There are two types of nasal reductions:

Closed reduction

A closed reduction is not a surgical procedure. Your nose is manually realigned using a nasal speculum to open your nostrils, and special instruments to place broken bones and cartilage into their proper position. We may also apply a temporary splint to stabilize your nose while it heals.

Open reduction

If your fracture is severe, the septum is fractured, the bones are significantly displaced, or more than two weeks have passed, we perform an open reduction, or surgery to repair and restore the bones and cartilage.

If you suffer an injury to your nose, or you have any doubt about whether you nose might be broken, call us at Broward ENT Services to schedule an examination.

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