This article was originally written by Garrett Bennett, MD for the MD.com blog, health and wellness articles written by physician. View the original source here.
Did I Break My Nose?
After getting hit in the face its not always clear if your nose is broken. The following is a guide that may help you determine if your nose is broken or not. The most common sign is deformity in the shape of your nose. Bleeding from your nose and bruising around the eyes are also common after a nasal fracture. A history of being hit in the nose is important. Some common examples of injuries in children and adults are from playing sports, car accidents, and falling or fighting. In the elderly, the most common reason for breaking a nose is from falling due to loss of balance or fainting. Your nose can also become congested. Swelling of the inside of the nose, blood clots, and collapse of the nasal bones can obstruct breathing. In addition, the septum, which is the part of your nose that divides your two nostrils, can fracture or bend which can block your nasal airway.
Signs and Symptoms of a Broken Nose
When you break your nose there are common signs and symptoms:
- Change in the shape of your nose
- Bruising an around your nose and eyes
- Pain and/or Sensitivity when touching your nose
- Bleeding from your nose
- Difficulty breathing through your nose
- Severe Headaches
- Mucus Discharge
Depending on how your broke your nose, there could be other injuries you may have. For example, the severity of the injury you suffered to your face may injur your cheekbones or even cause a neck injury. In some cases a nose injury can even lead to life-threating symptoms that would require immediate medical attention. If you have lost consciousness or suspect a serious injury you should be evaluated at an emergency room.
Treatment of a Broken Nose
You may have broken your nose and the shape stays the same. This is called a non-displaced nasal fracture. You will still want to wait 6 weeks to let the bones heal. That includes not wearing glasses, not pressing the nose, and especially not getting hit in the face. If you do not see any change in the shape of your nose from an injury, there may still be internal damage done to the nose. Internal damage can become evident over time if left untreated and can have long-term effects on your body. As discussed in the common signs, when the injury affects your septum, it may or may not be visible. The internal valves can also become detached which can obstruct breathing. Your nasal bone are mobile for about 2 weeks after a fracture and an ear, nose, and throat doctor may be able to straighten the nose without rebreaking it during that time. If you have a persistent change in the shape of your nose or the breathing does not get better you should seek medical attention to evaluate the severity on your injury.
Long-Term Effects of Untreated Broken Noses
If left untreated, you can suffer long-term effects from having a broken nose. Nasal fracture can lead to permanent visible deformities and breathing issues. If the injury caused your septum to shift, you can be at a higher risk to develop sleeping issues, worsening of allergies, worsening of asthma, shortness in breath, and/or sinus infections. In conclusion, when having a significant injury to your nose, it is best to seek medical attention in order to determine how severe of an injury you suffered and to get the best treatment possible so you do not have to experience any long-term effects of a broken nose.