It can be all too easy to break your nose when playing a competitive game of touch football at Lincoln Park or basketball at Albany Community Center. When this happens, there are two main ways it is treated: manual realignment or surgery. Below we cover when each is performed.
Diagnosing a Broken Nose
Your nose may be broken if you experience:
- Swelling on and around the nose.
- Pain when the nose is touched.
- A crooked shape to the nose.
- Bleeding from either side of the nose.
- Difficulty breathing through the nose.
- Bruising around the nose and eyes.
If you experience these symptoms, you should see a doctor right away.
To diagnose your broken nose, a doctor may gently press on and around the nose and check inside the nasal passageways. They may then order an x-ray or other imaging study to assess the severity of the injury.
If the nasal bones and cartilage have been displaced, the doctor may be able to manually realign them, as long as you are seen within 14 days of the break.
To perform this, the doctor will:
- Administer medication via nasal spray or injection to relieve pain.
- Open the nostrils with a nasal speculum.
- Use special instruments to realign the broken bones and cartilage.
- Apply packing to the nose to keep it in position, or use a splint.
- Prescribe antibiotics to prevent an infection.
If the break is severe or you wait more than 14 days to be seen by a doctor, surgery may be required to realign the broken nose. This may include reconstructive surgery if the break has damaged the septum, or stitches if the broken nose causes a cut in the skin. Surgery to correct a broken nose is usually performed on an outpatient basis.
Nasal Septal Hematoma
If you experience a nasal septal hematoma, this will need to be addressed as well. A nasal septal hematoma is a collection of blood within the septum of the nose. If an injury disrupts the blood vessels, fluid and blood may collect under the lining. If this happens, the doctor will have to make a small incision to drain it. For more information about treating a broken nose or to schedule an appointment with a nose expert, call Albany ENT & Allergy Services today.