Posted by Dr. Sam Rizk July, 07/03/2014 - 12:00 PM
A nose fracture is any crack or fracture to the bony part of the nose. Nose fractures are the most common type of facial fractures. They can affect the septum, nasal tip cartilages and other bony structures of the nose.
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A nasal fracture can cause both aesthetic and functional problems. Because the nose is the most central feature of the face, fracturing it can upset the harmony between the various facial features, dramatically altering the overall appearance of the face. Nasal fractures can also lead to chronic nosebleeds, sinus infections and breathing problems. As a result, if you sustain a nose fracture it is very important that you seek medical attention as quickly as possible.
Nose fractures are usually treated within a couple of weeks of the injury. Surgery to repair a nasal fracture is typically covered by insurance.
Types of Nose Fractures
Most nose fractures involve a fracture of the septum. In rare cases the nasal tip cartilages and other bony structures of the nose may be fractured.
Common Causes of Nasal Fractures
Nasal fractures are usually caused by trauma. Sports-related nasal fractures are extremely common, the primary culprits being hockey, basketball and boxing injuries. Car accidents are another common cause of nose fractures.
Symptoms of a Broken Nose
Common symptoms of a broken nose include the following:
- A crooked appearance
- Bruising, especially under the eyes
- Pain or tenderness
- A crackling or crunching sound upon touching the nose
- Difficulty breathing out of the nostrils
The Healing Process
Healing from a nose fracture depends on a variety of factors; most importantly, how quickly you are treated, the type of fracture and the skill of your surgeon. To ensure that your nose heals properly and naturally, if is very important that you get to an urgent care or emergency room right away following a nose fracture. You will likely be referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT), who in turn will refer you to a nose surgeon, if necessary.
When Is Nose Surgery Required?
Nose surgery may be required if your nose has an altered/crooked appearance or is causing breathing or other functional problems. It is extremely important that this take place within 10 days after your nose fracture, to avoid complications and ensure proper healing as well as minimal distortion.
Unfortunately, many people who suffer a broken nose fail to have it reset promptly. If your nose doesn’t heal properly, breathing and/or sleep issues may arise, and your septum may be deviated, leading to a crooked nasal appearance. These issues may require nose surgery.
It is important to note that swelling caused by a nasal fracture must subside before reconstructive surgery can be performed. Dr. Rizk usually waits a few weeks to a few months before performing surgery.
How Dr. Rizk Fixes a Broken Nose
A broken nose may consist of one or more fractures. As a result, the techniques used to correct a broken nose depend on the type of injury and its location(s). Some patients never liked the appearance of their nose in the first place, so they end up deciding to have a procedure that addresses not just reconstructive and functional issues but also their cosmetic concerns. Dr. Rizk can restore a nose back to its original appearance or alter it to improve its appearance while correcting the fracture.
Dr. Rizk decides which technique(s) to use to fix a broken nose on an individual basis. The methods used depend on what area of the nose (e.g., septum, tip) is broken, as well as other factors specific to the patient and his/her situation.
Most broken noses involve a fracture to the septum. If surgery is performed within 10 days of the incident, the septum can be reset through a “closed” procedure (one in which incisions are made solely inside the nose). If not, you will probably need to wait up to three months before having a septoplasty, rhinoplasty or a combination of the two (septorrhioplasty). This may involve cartilage grafting to strengthen the nose.
Another type of nose fracture is a fracture to the nasal tip cartilages. This type of nasal fracture is far less common than a septal fracture. If you notice a deformity to the nasal tip after an accident, the tip cartilages may be displaced or you may have a septum fracture that has caused the tip to droop. In rare cases, the tip cartilages may be fractured. Any of these situations may require “tip-plasty” surgery to restore or even improve the nose’s appearance.
Recovery from Reconstructive Nose Surgery
Each patient’s recovery is different, but all patients undergoing surgery to fix a broken nose will experience some swelling and facial puffiness. You will be given cold compresses and an herbal remedy called arnica montana to help with the swelling, as well as pain medications if necessary. It should take about two weeks for swelling to subside. It is important that you keep your head elevated during this time and avoid vigorous activity. Swelling will subside further within a month, but it may take up to a year before it goes away completely.
Some patients have black eyes following surgery and/or experience nausea.
Surgery to correct a nasal fracture does not typically cause a lot of postoperative pain, but many patients complain of stuffiness. It is important to avoid blowing your nose. Decongestants can help, but only if prescribed by your nose surgeon; other decongestants may contain aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which can increase the risk of bleeding.
For several weeks you will need to sleep on your back and avoid contact sports.
You will mostly be able to return to work within 10 days. Avoid wearing glasses for three weeks.
Dr. Rizk’s Rapid Recovery System
Dr. Rizk has developed a special system to ensure that his patients recover as quickly as possible from nose surgeries. This Rapid Recovery System involves small internal incisions, special tissue glues and dissolvable sutures. It also involves the use of tiny instruments and 3D technology to alter and/or manipulate the nasal tissues without disturbing delicate blood vessels within the nose, which reduces recovery time.
To learn more about every facet of nose fractures and their treatment, contact my office today.
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