Injury to the nose or the areas that surround and support the nose is known as nasal trauma. Both external and internal injuries can cause nasal trauma.
The cartilage, nasal bones, and soft tissue are vulnerable to external injuries, due to the position of the nose. The most typical types of facial fractures are nasal fractures. Due to swelling, bruising, and bleeding from the nose, it can be clear that there is an injury. However, they go regularly unnoticed and untreated during the time of injury and a careful examination is crucial for anyone who sustains nasal trauma. Swelling, bleeding, blood clots, and fractures can be a result from injuries to the nasal area. Potential complications of nasal trauma are physical deformity, infections, and obstructed breathing.
Nasal sinuses have a high tendency to sustain a fracture during trauma because they are typically lined by thinner bone. Sinus fractures may lead to problems such as sinusitis. Facial imaging and ENT evaluation is needed to determine is treatment of sinus fractures is needed.
There are multiple symptoms and signs that point towards a broken nose such as swelling and bruising, bleeding, a crooked misshapen appearance. X-rays or CT scans may be needed to assess the severity of fractures. Nasal endoscopy and ENT exam are essential.
Treatment options depend on the type of injury or damage and individual has.
If you have an insignificant fracture your doctor may suggest simple procedures, such as placing ice on the region and taking over-the-counter pain medications.
Your doctor may be able to manually realign the cartilage and bones in your nose if the break has displaced them. This is typically successful if performed within two weeks from when the fracture happened, preferably as soon as possible.
To ease discomfort, your physician uses an injection or nasal spray, then your physician uses special instruments to help readjust your broken bones and cartilage. Often, general anesthesia is needed for the surgery, particularly in younger patients.
Your doctor will also splint your nose using packing in your nose and a dressing on the exterior. Occasionally, an internal splint is needed for a short period of time. Typically, the packing needs to stay in for 7 days. A prescription for antibiotics will be administered to you, this will help prevent infection with the bacteria that may normally reside in your nose.
If the break has damaged your nasal septum, causing obstruction of the airway or difficulty breathing, reconstructive surgery may be recommended. Manual realignment may not be applicable for severe breaks, or breaks that have gone untreated for more than 2 weeks. If this is the case, surgery may be needed to readjust the bones and reshape your nose. Surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis.
Often no treatment is needed. More severe sinus fractures may require surgery. Your ENT doctor will discuss your specific needs.