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A broken nose—also called a nasal fracture or nose fracture—is a break or crack in a bone or in the cartilage in your nose. These breaks most often occur over the bridge of the nose or in the septum (the area that divides your nostrils).
An impact to your nose can cause a break. Broken noses commonly occur with other face or neck injuries. Common causes of broken noses include:
Symptoms that your nose may be broken include:
Call 911, or seek immediate medical treatment if you break your nose and have any of the following symptoms:
If you suspect you have a head or neck injury, avoid moving to prevent causing further damage.
Accidents can happen to anyone, so everyone has a risk of experiencing a broken nose at some point in their lives. Certain activities, however, can increase your risk for nasal fractures. These include:
Your doctor can usually diagnose a broken nose by performing a physical examination, which involves looking at and touching your nose and face. If you are in a lot of pain, your doctor may give you a local anesthetic to numb your nose before the physical examination. Your doctor may ask you to come back in two or three days after your swelling has gone down so it will be easier to view your injuries. If your nose injury appears to be severe or is accompanied by other facial injuries, your doctor may order an X-ray or computed tomography (CT) scan to determine the extent of damage to your nose and face.
Depending on your symptoms, you may need immediate medical treatment, or you may be able to perform first aid at home and see a doctor at your convenience.
If you do not have symptoms that warrant immediate medical treatment, there are a few things you can do at home before seeing your doctor:
Not all broken noses require medical treatment. If your injuries are severe enough, your doctor may perform one of the following procedures:
Closed reduction, rhinoplasty, and septorhinoplasty are not usually performed until three to 10 days after your injury, after swelling goes down.
Your broken nose will most likely heal without any problems. If you are unhappy with the way your nose looks after it heals or you are having difficulty breathing normally, talk to your doctor about reconstructive nose surgery.
You can reduce your risk of getting a broken nose by:
Written by: Rose Kivi and Marijane Leonard
Published on Jul 25, 2012
Updated on Feb 15, 2013
Medically reviewed by George Krucik, MD
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