How to deal with nose fractures

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Nose fractures often occur than the other types affecting the facial bone. Once the nasal bones break, the mucous membrane that lines the nose can tear, resulting to a nosebleed.

Essentially, the nasal bridge is driven to one side. Oftentimes, the cartilage of the nasal septum can be thrusted to one side as well. If blood builds up beneath the mucous membrane lining the cartilage of the nasal septum, the cartilage might die. This dead cartilage might crumble which causes the nasal bridge to slump in the middle.

What are the indications?

An individual with a nose fracture experiences bleeding, pain, tenderness and swelling after sustaining a blunt injury. In most cases, a broken nose appears crooked or deformed. Oftentimes, the area adjacent the eyes also appears bruised. The nose stays swollen for 3-5 days after sustaining a fracture.

Nose fractures
An individual with a nose fracture experiences bleeding, pain, tenderness and swelling after sustaining a blunt injury.

How is it diagnosed

Medical care is required so that the doctor can detect other issues aside from the fracture such as septal hematoma, cerebrospinal fluid leakage or other facial injuries that might necessitate medical treatment.

Management of nose fractures

When dealing with nose fractures, application of ice packs for about 2 days, pain medications and sleeping with the head in a raised position can reduce the pain and swelling.

If septal hematoma is detected, it should be drained as soon as possible. The blood must be removed to prevent destruction of the cartilage. The fracture can wait since the doctor usually waits for 3-5 days after the injury so the swelling subsides before the broken bone pieces are driven back into place. By waiting, it is easier for the doctor to see and feel when the bony pieces are correctly aligned. Most cases of nose fractures are in good position and no longer required reduction.

Initially, the doctor will provide an adult with a local anesthetic to numb the area. As for children, general anesthesia is given which results to brief unconsciousness. By pressing with the fingers and lifting using an instrument inserted into the nose, the doctor manipulates the bones into their normal position. The nose is stabilized using an external splint. The doctor might insert gauze into the nose as well. Antibiotics are given while the packing is in place to reduce the risk for infection. Remember that nose fractures heal in about 6 weeks.

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