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General Practice 2023

Broken nose: how to recognize and what to do

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Broken nose: how to recognize and what to do
Broken nose: how to recognize and what to do

Nose fracture occurs when there is a break in the bones or cartilage due to some impact in this region, such as due to falls, traffic accidents, physical aggression or contact sports.

Treatment is usually aimed at decreasing pain, swelling and bleeding from the nose with the use of pain relievers or anti-inflammatories such as Dipyrone or Ibuprofen, followed by surgery to realign the bones if necessary.

Recovery usually takes about 7 days, but in some cases, other surgeries may need to be performed by the otolaryngologist or plastic surgeon for total correction of the nose.

How to know if your nose has broken

The most obvious symptom of a fracture in the nose is the deformity of the nose, as the bone can be displaced and end up changing the shape of the nose, however, there are situations where the fracture is less evident. In these cases, the fracture can be suspected through the appearance of symptoms such as:

  • Pain and swelling in the nose;
  • Purple spots on nose or around eyes;
  • Bleeding from the nose;
  • Too much touch sensitivity;
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose.

Children have a lower risk of nose fractures because their bones and cartilage are more flexible, but when it happens, it is more often caused by falls.

In babies, the bones of the nose can fracture at the time of delivery and, in this case, it is identified by the deformity of the place, and the surgery for correction should happen as soon as possible, to prevent the nose from being permanently crooked. or with breathing difficulties.

What to do in case of suspicion

Often, the fracture of the nose is simple and does not change the appearance of the nose. In these cases, and although it is always important to carry out an evaluation with a doctor, it is generally only recommended to take some precautions to reduce swelling and relieve pain, such as:

  • Place a cold compress or ice on your nose for about 10 minutes to reduce pain and swelling;
  • Do not move or try to put the bone in place,as this may make the injury worse;
  • Take painkillers or anti-inflammatory medications, such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen, as instructed by a doctor.

If the nose is visibly deformed or if other symptoms such as dark spots on the face or bleeding from the nose appear, it is important to go to the emergency room immediately, to evaluate the fracture and start the most appropriate treatment.

If you notice the presence of bleeding, you should remain seated or with your head tilted forward and breathe through your mouth. If the bleeding is heavy, a gauze or cotton can be placed to cover the nostril, without pushing too hard. Do not turn your head back, so that the blood does not accumulate in the throat, and do not blow your nose, so as not to make the injury worse. Know what to do when your nose is bleeding.

When surgery is needed

Surgery is indicated whenever there is a fracture with deviation of the bones of the nose. After the initial treatment to reduce swelling, which can take between 1 and 7 days, surgery is performed to reposition the bones. The type of surgery and anesthesia will depend on each case and each patient. In case of severe fractures, surgery can be performed immediately.

After the surgery, a special dressing is made, which can be with plaster or some rigid material, to help in the fixation of the bones and can remain for about 1 week.

Nose fracture recovery is fast, usually around 7 days. However, sports with risk of causing a new fracture should be avoided for 3 to 4 months, or as directed by the doctor.

Possible complications

Even after all the treatment, some complications can still arise due to nose fracture, which must also be corrected by medication or surgery. The main ones are:

  • Purple marks on the face, due to the accumulation of blood after bleeding;
  • Decrease in the nose canal, which can make it difficult for air to pass, due to irregular healing;
  • Obstruction of the tear duct, which prevents the passage of tears, due to changes in healing;
  • Infection, due to opening and manipulation of the nose during surgery.

Within 1 month, the nose fracture should be completely resolved, and the swelling disappears completely.However, the person may still have a change in the shape and functioning of the nose during breathing and, therefore, may need to be evaluated by an otolaryngologist or plastic surgeon, as other surgeries may be necessary in the future.

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