I think I broke my nose! What now?
- Posted on: Apr 29 2014
Your nose was just hit in an accident. It is painful, swollen and may even be bleeding. What should you do?
You may go to an ER. Here they can make sure there aren’t any other injuries, stop any immediate bleeding and refer you to a Facial Plastic Surgeon, if you don’t already know one. Facial Plastic Surgeons are trained as an ENT first, then a plastic surgeon. So, we appreciate the importance and intricacies of nasal breathing, as well as the asthetics.
You should note if your breathing changes, if it is more difficult after the injury and, if so, is one side worse than the other. Also, note any changes in the outward appearance. In the first 5-7 days, you may be a candidate for a closed reduction of a nasal bone fracture. This can be performed with local anesthesia, IV sedation (twilight sedation) or general anesthesia. This is a quick, simple procedure to restore the nose to it’s position prior to the injury without any incisions. However, it is successful in only about 50% of the patients. So, about one half of the patients will need another procedure to get back to where they were before the injury.
After the first week, the bones will start to heal. So, you will probably want to wait until the swelling goes down before you have any procedure. This takes at least 6 weeks. Some surgeons wait up to 6 months. At this time the plan will be made with you and your surgeon on how is best to surgically return you as close as possible to your pre-injury state. It can be difficult to get a crooked nose completely straight, so improvement is usually the goal, not perfection. By straightening the nose with rhinoplasty, and usually the septum too, your breathing should be improved.
Any other injuries are taken into consideration and can influence the treatment timeline for the nasal bone fracture. These are general guidelines, but each patient should have a treatment plan tailored for them and their specific situation.
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