Nasal fracture reduction is a procedure that can help realign broken nasal bones.
Nasal fractures are common injuries. They can affect the inside and the outside of the nose, causing problems like changes in the shape of the nose, nasal congestion, and nose bleeds.
Not everyone with a broken nose needs to have treatment. But treatment can be helpful if the fracture leads to a significant change in the shape of the nose or causes problems with nasal obstruction.
The first step in deciding whether treatment is needed is to have an evaluation by a physician or surgeon who focuses on nasal problems and nasal injuries. Based on your symptoms and based on the findings from your exam, the surgeon can help decide if treatment would be helpful. It is helpful to have this type of evaluation soon after your injury.
One common reason patients have treatment is that the nose shifts after the injury. Patients might notice that the nose is shifted towards one side. Certain parts of the nose may also look flatter.
Closed Nasal Reduction
If there is a significant change in the shape and structure of the outside of the nose, a procedure called a "closed nasal reduction" can be helpful. The word "reduction" refers to restoring the proper alignment of the broken bones. In this procedure, the surgeon uses special tools to try to shift the bones into the proper position. In many instances, this type of procedure can help align the nose close to its original position.
Nasal reduction can sometimes be done in the office under local anesthesia. This means that the surgeon would numb the inside and the outside of the nose with sprays and injections before trying to re-align the broken bones. In other situations, the procedure is done in the operating room. Patients are under anesthesia when it is done in the operating room.
Most patients have a rapid recovery after this type of procedure. There may be some swelling and bruising on the nose and face, but it is typically less severe than what is seen at the time of the original injury. There may also be some congestion and bleeding.
In some situations, the broken bones may heal and the nose may remain shifted. In these situations, patients may have treatment in a delayed fashion. This type of treatment involves a rhinoplasty. In a rhinoplasty, the inside and the outside of the nose are reconstructed. This type of procedure is typically performed at least a few months after the injury has healed. The recovery after this type of surgery depends on how much reconstruction is needed.
In our practice, patients needing reconstruction of the inside and outside of the nose are treated by combining the expertise of two surgeons. As a Rhinologist, Dr. Goyal focuses on reconstruction of the inside of the nose. He works closely with Dr. Amar Suryadevara. Dr. Suryadevara is a Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon who focuses on external nasal reconstruction. By working together, the two surgeons can combine their areas of expertise to offer patients the highest level of care.
Frequently Asked Questions about Nasal Fracture Treatment
What types of problems do nasal fractures cause?
When the nose is broken, there are typically two main types of problems. The first is that the shape of the nose can change. In most situations, the nose becomes shifted to one side. There is also typically some flattening of the nose.
The other type of common problem after a nasal injury is that the nose can become stuffy. This happens because the injury on the outside of the nose can lead to changes in the inside of the nose. For example, the nasal septum divides the nose into two sides. After an injury, the septum can become shifted, leading to blockage on the inside of the nose. Patients typically have difficulty breathing through their nose when this happens.
How soon does a broken nose need to be treated?
The answer depends on the type of injury and the severity of the injury. If the bones of the nose are broken and shifted, it is important to try to realign them before they heal in an abnormal position. Typically, this needs to be performed with the first two weeks after an injury. Often, it is better if the injury is treated within the first week after the injury.
Sometimes, the nose becomes very swollen after an injury. This can make it difficult to tell now shifted the bones might be. It also makes it hard to know if the bones have been properly realigned. If there is severe swelling, your surgeon may suggest that you wait until the swelling has decreased a bit. The swelling typically starts to decrease 4-5 days after an injury.
Some injuries require immediate treatment. For example, this may be the case if there is heavy bleeding right after an injury. If this happens, it is best to be evaluated in an emergency department right away so that the acute problem can be controlled.
How long is the recovery after treatment for a nasal fracture?
Patients who have closed nasal reduction have some swelling and discomfort for 5-7 days after treatment. It is important to avoid heavy activity during the recovery. It is also important to avoid any activities that could lead to pressure on the healing bones.
Patients who have rhinoplasty generally have a longer recovery. The amount of time needed for recovery depends on how much reconstruction is needed during surgery. Most patients find that the recovery lasts 1-2 weeks after rhinoplasty.
Do all nasal fractures need treatment?
Not all fractures need closed nasal reduction or rhinoplasty. If a fracture has caused a significant shift in the bone or cartilage of the nose, treatment can help realign the injured areas. Typically, patients have treatment when there is enough of an injury to cause a significant change in the appearance of the nose or the function of the nose.
By closely examining the outside and inside of your nose, your doctor can help you make a decision about whether you need treatment for your injury.
How soon can I get an appointment in your office if I have had a nasal injury?
Please call us right away if you would like to be seen for a nasal injury. In most situations, we can see you within a few days (and often within 24 hours). You can arrange an appointment by phone at 315-254-2030 or online by using this link.
If you have an emergency and need immediate attention, please go to your nearest emergency room.