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Definition

A nose fracture is a break in the bones of the nose.

Facial Bones
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Causes

A nose fracture is caused by a blunt, hard blow to the nose.

Risk Factors

Things that may raise your risk of this injury are:

  • Health problems that may cause falls, such as seizure disorder
  • Playing contact sports
  • Not wearing a seatbelt

Symptoms

A nose fracture may cause:

  • Pain in the bridge of the nose
  • Swelling of the nose and face
  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Black eyes
  • Problems breathing

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. The doctor will also ask how the injury happened. An exam will be done that focuses on your nose and face.

Images of your nose may be taken to guide treatment. This can be done with:

Treatment

It can take three weeks for a broken nose to heal. More severe fractures may take longer to heal. The goals of treatment are to manage pain and support the bone as it heals. Options may be:

  • Medicine to ease swelling and pain
  • Splint, tape, and gauze to keep the bone in place it heals
  • Exercises to help with muscle strength and range of motion will be needed.

Putting Bones Back In Place

Some fractures cause the nose to become out of position. The nose will need to be put back into place. This may be done:

  • Without surgery—anesthesia will be used to ease pain while the doctor moves the bone back into place
  • With surgery—to move a bone with a severe fracture back into place

Prevention

Most fractures are due to accidents. To lower the risk:

  • Wear protective headgear with face masks when playing contact sports or riding a bicycle or motorcycle.
  • Wear a seat belt when you are in a motor vehicle.
RESOURCES:

American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery
http://cosmeticsurgery.org

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
https://familydoctor.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

The Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons
http://www.plasticsurgery.ca

The College of Family Physicians of Canada
http://www.cfpc.ca

REFERENCES:

Al-Moraissi EA, Ellis E 3rd. Local versus general anesthesia for the management of nasal bone fractures: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2015 Apr;73(4):606-615.

Fractures of the nose. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries-poisoning/facial-trauma/fractures-of-the-nose. Updated April 2018. Accessed September 27, 2019.

Isolated nasal bone fracture—emergency management. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/management/isolated-nasal-bone-fracture-emergency-management#GUID-DE968AD5-9249-415E-A4AD-6A09FAE16954. Accessed September 27, 2019.

Nasal fractures. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org/content/nasal-fractures. Updated January 2019. Accessed September 27, 2019.

Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM  Last Updated: 9/26/2019