A nasal fracture, more commonly referred to as a broken nose, is a fracture of the bones of the nose. Nasal fractures are one of the most common facial injuries, because the nose protrudes from the face and the bones in the nose are fragile.
Nasal fractures are caused by physical trauma to the face, usually from sports injuries, fights, falls, or car accidents. Symptoms include bruising, swelling, tenderness, pain, deformity, and/or bleeding of the nose and nasal region of the face. Breathing may be impaired, and excessive nosebleeds can occur.
Nasal fractures are usually diagnosed through physical examination. One priority is to distinguish a simple fracture limited to the nasal bones (a “Type 1” fracture) from fractures that involve other facial bones or the nasal septum (“Type 2” and “Type 3” fractures, respectively), which can be much more serious.
Minor fractures might be able to heal on their own, provided that there is no significant cosmetic deformity. Ice and pain medication may be prescribed to ease discomfort during the healing process. For nasal fractures in which the nose has been deformed, manual alignment may be attempted. Nasal fractures involving damage to other structures (“Type 2” and “Type 3” fractures) often must be treated surgically.