A broken nose is not always accompanied by externally visible deformations of the nose. However, in order to prevent complications occurring during the healing process, an early visit to the doctor can be useful.
What is broken nose?
A broken nose (also known as a nasal bone fracture in medicine) is one of the most common facial injuries. This is due, among other things, to the fact that the nose protrudes and the bones of the nasal bone are relatively fine; this means that they can break under comparatively little force. See photionary for Lassa Fever 101.
A broken nose is not always visible from the outside. However, in the case of a broken nose, it can often be observed that the nose can be moved to a small extent. A broken nose often first manifests itself as severe swelling of the nose; In many cases, this swelling is also accompanied by pronounced pain after some time.
A broken nose is usually particularly painful when touched. In some cases, a broken nose can be accompanied by heavy bleeding from the nose.
In most cases, a broken nose is caused by external forces. For example, accidents and falls as well as physical attacks can be responsible for such effects of force.
Various sports with frequent physical contact and high speeds (such as American football and of course boxing) are also associated with an increased risk of suffering a broken nose.
A broken nose can also be deliberately brought about as part of cosmetic surgery: If the nose is to be corrected on the outside, the bones of the nasal bone can be modeled accordingly after a break.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
A broken nose is accompanied by clear symptoms. First, the nose usually starts to bleed profusely and the affected person feels severe pain. As a result, there is usually a large-scale swelling, as well as bruising and clearly visible changes in shape. The nose can be crooked and humps and dents can form.
The patient ‘s breathing is usually severely hampered by the bent nasal septum and the swelling, and the ability to smell is often restricted. If individual bone fragments have slipped, the so-called “boxer’s nose” develops, because in this case the bridge of the nose can sink in. In the event of severe violence, surrounding bones such as the ethmoid or the maxillary bone can also be affected by the fracture.
It is quite possible that symptoms such as bruising or swelling only appear a few hours after the accident. Therefore, only an actual misalignment of the nose is a clear indication of a nasal bone fracture. In addition, the rupture often occurs together with a septal hematoma.
These are bruises in the nasal septum caused by bleeding between the nasal mucosa and the cartilage. The bleeding causes the nasal septum to swell, which then either impedes nasal breathing or even makes it impossible.
A possible complication is septal necrosis. The tissue dies because the cartilage is no longer supplied with sufficient blood. Bacterial infection of the hematoma is also possible, which can lead to an abscess (collection of pus and a septum perforation (hole in the nasal septum).
Diagnosis & History
If the nose is deformed as a result of external force, this already allows a very reliable diagnosis of a broken nose. If a patient’s nose shows no deformation despite a suspected fracture of the nasal bone or if it is to be determined which bone areas are affected by a fracture, further examinations must be carried out.
For example, the inside of the nose can be viewed using so-called rhinoscopy ; in rhinoscopy, the nostrils are held open using medical instruments, while a medical professional can view the inside of the nose with a light source. In order to diagnose a broken nose, doctors can also use what is known as palpation: the outside of the nose is touched in order to be able to detect mobility or broken edges, for example.
As a rule, the broken bones of the nasal bone develop cartilage quite quickly, so that the nasal bones are often reconnected after about 5 days. Appropriate medical measures help ensure that a broken nose does not lead to malposition of the nose or impaired breathing. Possible complications of open fractures in nasal bone fractures are infections as a result of invading pathogens.
Of course, a fracture of the nasal bone can also cause various complications, which should usually always be treated by an appropriate doctor. If a broken nose remains without any treatment, then complications are inevitable. The fracture often no longer heals properly, which can lead to stabbing and long-lasting pain.
The formation of an abscess is also possible. In such a case, extreme caution is required, because an abscess can cause very unpleasant consequential damage. An abscess is an accumulation of pus. In some cases, the pus fluid gets into the human bloodstream, so that it can even lead to blood poisoning. If you want to avoid these complications from the start, you should not put off a visit to the doctor.
With early treatment, the above complications can be avoided. For this reason, the following applies: A fracture of the nasal bone is of course associated with various complications, so that a trip to the doctor is inevitable. In this way, possible complaints and complications can be nipped in the bud. A full and speedy recovery is therefore 100% guaranteed.
When should you go to the doctor?
If there is pain in the nose or a deformation of the shape of the nose after an accident or fall, there is cause for concern. If the nose bleeds heavily, there are sensory disturbances in the face and changes in the complexion, the affected person needs medical help. With a broken nose, severe pain in the face area occurs even with a light touch as well as at rest. The pain usually radiates over the entire face and extends into the head. This leads to disturbances in concentration and attention. Thinking is limited because of the discomfort.
To ensure that the symptoms do not increase and that the existing pain is reduced, a doctor should be consulted. To avoid complications, you should refrain from taking any medication until you have consulted your doctor. A displacement of the nasal bones can be recognized by visual contact and should be treated immediately.
The sooner a broken nose is treated medically, the better the healing process. If bruising occurs or if breathing is impaired, a doctor is needed. A doctor should be consulted if there is a taste of blood in the mouth or swelling of the face. The symptoms lead to a further deterioration in breathing activity, so hurry is required.
Treatment & Therapy
Which medical treatment is necessary after a nasal bone fracture initially depends on the form of the nasal bone fracture: If the bones of the nasal bone have not shifted during a fracture, medical intervention is often not necessary; as a rule, the broken ends rejoin each other on their own.
However, since such a broken nose can still be accompanied by severe pain and swelling, the treating doctor occasionally prescribes pain-relieving medication. Immediately following a broken nose, quickly cooling the nose can help reduce the risk of swelling. If severe bleeding occurs after a broken nose and does not stop on its own, tamponades (bandage material that is inserted into the nostrils) may be necessary.
If the nose is deformed after a nasal bone fracture and bone fragments have shifted, a specialist usually fixes the fracture. In addition to the cosmetic direction, it must also be ensured that the respiratory tract is not affected. If a broken nose has to be repaired, it is important that this procedure takes place quickly. If treatment is delayed, the nasal bones may have already stabilized in a shifted position.
Outlook & Forecast
A broken nose has an excellent chance of healing completely without permanent damage if it is treated as quickly as possible. In such cases, correct straightening and care of the fracture can ensure that the nose heals undamaged within a few weeks. If the nasal bone is well rested for another four to six weeks, the broken nasal bone is then considered to be completely healed.
In other cases, where the nasal bone fracture also affected other structures of the nose, the prognosis is even more dependent on prompt treatment. For example, if left untreated, a deformed nasal septum poses a risk of breathing and speech problems. In addition, a deformed nasal septum almost always leads to snoring and an increased susceptibility to infections.
A detachment of the nasal mucosa from the nasal septum is also associated with a rather negative prognosis. Tissue death and bleeding can occur here, which can visually lead to a sunken nose. Prompt treatment improves the prognosis.
A broken nose can heal without treatment. However, there is a very high chance that deformations will remain. These depend on the type of nasal bone fracture and the fracture angle. Most of the time, a boxer’s nose or a crooked nose remain. In retrospect, this can only be corrected surgically.
A broken nose as a result of accidents cannot usually be prevented. Appropriate protective clothing is used to prevent a broken nose during risky sports. Complications can be prevented, among other things, by medical diagnosis and treatment of a broken nose as early as possible.
On the one hand, aftercare aims to prevent the symptoms from recurring. This cannot apply to a broken nose, since sudden accidents and acts of violence cannot be predicted.
However, patients can exercise a little more caution in everyday life if such an accident has happened to them. For example, certain sports are more prone to re-fracture. Masks can provide protection. If necessary, the doctor informs his patients about protective measures for which the person concerned is responsible independently.
On the other hand, a follow-up check takes place in order to implement long-term treatment and everyday support. Expected complications are often associated with this. In the case of a broken nose, such follow-up care extends to a good six weeks from the time of diagnosis; the patient can then continue with his or her normal life.
Since there are then no symptoms, there is no follow-up care. A check-up appointment includes an analysis of the acute symptoms. In addition, imaging methods can be used to determine the growth of the nasal bone. Medications to relieve pain are regularly prescribed.
You can do that yourself
In order to avoid a permanent deformation of the nose, sufficient rest and protection is necessary after the doctor’s visit. The doctor’s instructions and recommendations must be followed in order not to cause any unwanted consequential damage.
Sporting activities or intensive physical activities should be avoided for the time of recovery. Situations in which violence or other physical assaults could occur should be avoided in good time. Weights should not be lifted and jerky movements should be avoided. Avoid hopping, jumping, or running completely during the healing period. The movements can lead to unwanted bone displacements and trigger pain.
Breathing should temporarily take place exclusively through the mouth until the end of the treatment period. This prevents particles from the immediate vicinity and foreign bodies in the air from being absorbed into the nose. If the nose fills up with excessive nasal secretion, the head can be tilted back for a few minutes. The evacuation of the liquid is thus initiated via the throat and the painful blowing out is avoided. Wearing a mask can be perceived as helpful and relieving. This is visually very noticeable in everyday life and protects the injured region very well from external influences.