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Broken Nose

Broken Nose

Definition

A nose fracture is a break in the bones of the nose.

Facial Bones
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Causes

A nose fracture is caused by a blunt, hard blow to the nose. It often occurs along with injuries to other parts of the nose and face.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase the chance of a nose fracture include:

  • Any condition that causes frequent falls, such as:
    • Increased age
    • Seizure disorder
    • Alcohol use disorder
  • Previous nose fracture or nose injury
  • Participating in sports, especially contact sports
  • Reckless behavior during recreational activities or driving
  • Failure to wear a seat belt —keep in mind that airbags can also sometimes cause injury

Symptoms

A nose fracture may cause:

  • Pain in the bridge of the nose
  • Inflammation of the nose or surrounding area of the face
  • Bleeding from the nose (often heavy)
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose or nostril
  • Discoloration of the nose
  • Black eyes

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and how the injury occurred. Your nose and face will be examined for:

  • Irregularities in the shape
  • Movement of the bones of the nose and face
  • Rough sensation when the nose is moved
  • Pain or tenderness to touch at the nasal bridge
  • Injury to the nasal septum (especially hematoma)
  • Any fluid from the nose, such as blood or cerebrospinal fluid (in severe cases)

Although not necessary, imaging tests may be done to confirm the fracture, and check its location and severity. They usually are not done until the inflammation goes down. Imaging tests may include:

  • X-rays
  • CT scan

Treatment

Treatment depends on the severity of the fracture. If the nose is broken and in position, the only treatment needed is home care. It is important to be careful to not bump the nose while it heals. More severe fractures may need realignment or surgery.

Prevention

Nose fractures may not always be preventable, but you can reduce your risk:

  • Wear protective headgear with face masks when playing contact sports, or when riding a bicycle or motorcycle.
  • Wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a car.
  • Avoid situations that may involve a fight.
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