Nose fracture

Alternative names
Fracture of the nose; Broken nose

Definition
A nose fracture is a break in the bone over the bridge of the nose.

Considerations
A fractured nose is the most common facial fracture. It usually results from a blunt injury and is often associated with other facial fractures. The bruised appearance usually disappears after 2 weeks.

Sometimes, as a result of a blunt injury, the septum (wall dividing the nostrils) can separate. The symptoms may be the same as a fractured nose.

Nose injuries and neck injuries are often seen together because a blow that is forceful enough to injure the nose may be hard enough to injure the neck.

Serious nose injuries cause problems that require immediate professional attention. However, for minor nose injuries, the doctor may prefer to see the victim after the swelling subsides.

Occasionally, plastic surgery may be necessary to correct a deformity of the nose or nasal septum caused by a trauma.

Symptoms

     
  • pain  
  • blood coming from the nose  
  • bruising around the eyes  
  • misshapen appearance (may not be obvious until swelling subsides)  
  • signs of trauma  
  • swelling  
  • difficulty breathing through the nose

First Aid

  1. Reassure the victim and try to keep the victim calm.
  2. Have the victim breathe through the mouth and lean forward in a sitting position in order to keep blood from going down the back of the throat.
  3. Apply cold compresses to the nose to reduce swelling. If possible, the victim should hold the compress so that excessive pressure is not applied.
  4. To help relieve pain, acetaminophen is recommended.

Do Not

     
  • DO NOT try to straighten a broken nose.  
  • DO NOT move the victim if there is reason to suspect a head or neck injury.

Call immediately for emergency medical assistance if

     
  • you suspect a neck or Head injury  
  • you are unable to stop the bleeding  
  • there is clear fluid draining continuously from the nose  
  • the victim is having difficulty breathing

Prevention
Protective headgear should be worn while playing contact sports, riding bicycles, skateboards, roller-skates, or roller blades.

Seatbelts and appropriate car seats should be used.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 5, 2012
by David A. Scott, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.