Ear Nose & Throat Sydney
Dr  Narinder Singh  MBBS (Syd) FRACS (ORL-HNS) - Consultant ENT Specialist Surgeon - Clinical Lecturer University of Sydney
Ear Nose & Throat Sydney, Dr Narinder Singh
Ear Nose & Throat Sydney, Dr Narinder Singh Ear Nose & Throat Sydney, Dr Narinder Singh
 
Ear Nose Throat

Broken Nose

When did you break your nose:

DISCLAIMER: Please note that this website is for general information only and cannot provide specific medical advice. Please read the full disclaimer below

I just broke my nose a few hours ago. What should I do?

Broken NoseWe recommend you consider going to the nearest emergency department of a major public hospital for assessment by a trained medical professional. If you chose to go to the Emergency Department, You should be prepared to wait several hours to be seen, as a broken nose is generally considered to be a lower priority emergency (compared to heart attacks and strokes, etc).

While waiting to be seen, it is better to sit rather than lie down, as this will reduce the blood flow to the nose.

You may consider using an ice pack over the bridge of the nose to reduce swelling.

If your nose is bleeding, consider doing the following:

  • Sit upright rather than lying down
  • Lean forward
  • Pinch the nose shut between your thumb and 1st finger. Pinch the soft fleshy part of the nose low down, not the hard bony part at the top.
  • Wait ten minutes, then let go. If the nose is still bleeding, repeat these steps.

What will the doctor do in the emergency department?

Emergency

The doctor in the emergency department will usually do the following:

  1. Check to make sure that you do not have a "septal haematoma"
  2. Check to make sure that you do not have any other injuries such as cuts over the nose, other facial fractures, injuries to the eyes, mouth, face or brain.
  3. Advise you on further treatment for your broken nose.

What is a Septal Haematoma?

Sometimes, when the nose is broken, the septum (the wall in the middle of the nose that divides left from right) can bleed. Sometimes, this blood gets trapped inside the septum resulting in swelling of the septum. This is called a septal haematoma. If possible, the blood should be drained from a septal haematoma. If the blood is not drained from a septal haematoma, the cartilage in the septum can break down. This may eventually result in a "saddle nose" deformity, where there is an unsightly "dip" in the external appearance of the nose.

How do I know if I have a "Septal haematoma"?

Usually, if there is a large septal haematoma, the nose will feel blocked. However, the nose will often feel blocked after it is broken, from dried blood and swelling or from a deviated septum.

The only way to know for certain is for a doctor to look inside your nose.

Do I need Xrays?

XraysPlain Xrays are not very useful and generally will not change your medical management.

Sometimes a CT scan may be ordered, mainly to look for other facial fractures.

 

Will the emergency department doctor put my nose back in place?

No - usually not. Within minutes of a broken nose, the nose will swell up and it is very difficult to tell what the bone structure looks like underneath. The best time to fix a broken nose is after the swelling has gone down - usually after 3 days from the injury.

What happens after I see the emergency department doctor?

Once the emergency department doctor is satisfied that you don't have a septal haematoma or other injuries, you will be allowed to leave the emergency department. Ask the emergency department doctor for a referral to see Dr Singh (you may not need to use the referral, but it is better to have the referral if needed)

Generally, the following advice is usually given:

Wait around 3 days for the swelling to go down, both on the outside of the nose and the inside. After the swelling has gone down, if your nose still looks different or if your nose still feels blocked, you need to see Dr Singh (or another nose doctor if you live outside Sydney).

It has been 3 days and my nose doesn't look right. What should I do?

Emergency Department, GPAfter 3 days, the soft tissue swelling will have gone down and it will be possible to see the bone structure underneath. Have a good look at yourself in the mirror and ask family/ close friends to look at your nose. If your nose looks different and you want it fixed, you need to undergo a surgical procedure within 2 weeks from the time of injury. Please call us on 9680 8800 to make an urgent appointment to see Dr Singh. Please tell the receptionist that you have a broken nose and you will be given an early appointment. If you have any difficulty arranging an early appointment, ask your GP to call our receptionist or Dr Singh directly. If your GP calls, you will be guaranteed an early appointment. Please only ask your GP to call if you have difficulty arranging an early appointment yourself.

IMPORTANT: Do not delay! You need to be seen and the procedure needs to be booked and performed within 2 weeks from the time of injury. After 2 weeks, a simple corrective procedure cannot be performed and you will need to undergo a bigger operation.

Click here to find out more about early surgical repair of broken nose.

It has been 3 days and my nose still feels blocked. What should I do?

After 3 days, the soft tissue swelling inside the nose will have gone down and you should be able to breath through the nose. If your nose still feels blocked and you want it fixed, you may need to undergo a "Septoplasty" procedure. Please call us on 9680 8800 to make an appointment to see Dr Singh.

Click here to find out more about "Septoplasty"

I don't want to wait in the emergency department - can I see my GP instead?

Emergency Department, GP Often it can be quicker to see a GP than wait in the emergency department after a broken nose. However, your GP may not have the instruments and equipment to treat your injuries and if you need a CT scan, you will need to travel somewhere else. It is always your choice as to where you go and who you see after an injury.

I don't want to wait in the emergency department or see a GP - Do I have to see a doctor?

It is always your choice as to whether to see a doctor. For minor injuries, it may not be necessary. As this is a general information website only, we cannot give you specific medical advice. Please see our disclaimer


I broke my nose a few days ago. What should I do?

The following information relates to a broken nose only. If you have other injuries (cuts over the nose, other facial fractures, injuries to the eyes, mouth, face or brain), you should see your GP.

In general, a broken nose may result in 2 problems:

  • a change in the shape of the nose
  • a blocked nose

I broke my nose a few days ago. My nose looks swollen. What should I do?

Within minutes of a broken nose, the nose will swell up and it is very difficult to tell what the bone structure looks like underneath. Typically, you need to wait 3 days for the soft tissue swelling to go down to see what the nose looks like.

It has been 3 days and my nose doesn't look right. What should I do?

It has been 3 days and my nose doesn't look right. What should I do?AAfter 3 days, the soft tissue swelling will have gone down and it will be possible to see the bone structure underneath. Have a good look at yourself in the mirror and ask family/ close friends to look at your nose. If your nose looks different and you want it fixed, you need to undergo a surgical procedure within 2 weeks from the time of injury. Please call us on 9680 8800 to make an urgent appointment to see Dr Singh. Please tell the receptionist that you have a broken nose and you will be given an early appointment. If you have any difficulty arranging an early appointment, ask your GP to call our receptionist or Dr Singh directly. If your GP calls, you will be guaranteed an early appointment. Please only ask your GP to call if you have difficulty arranging an early appointment yourself.

IMPORTANT: Do not delay! You need to be seen and the procedure needs to be booked and performed within 2 weeks from the time of injury. After 2 weeks, a simple corrective procedure cannot be performed and you will need to undergo a bigger operation.

Click here to find out more about early surgical repair of broken nose.

I broke my nose a few days ago. Why does my nose feel blocked?

Broken Nose Bloackage

After breaking the nose, blockage can be caused by several reasons, including:

  • Soft tissue swelling (common)
  • Dried blood (common)
  • Septal Haematoma (rare but important)
  • Deviated Septum

What is a Septal Haematoma?

Sometimes, when the nose is broken, the septum (the wall in the middle of the nose that divides left from right) may bleed. Sometimes, this blood gets trapped inside the septum resulting in swelling of the septum. This is called a septal haematoma. If possible, the blood should be drained from a septal haematoma. If the blood is not drained from a septal haematoma, the cartilage in the septum can break down. This may eventually result in a "saddle nose" deformity, where there is an unsightly "dip" in the external appearance of the nose.

How do I know if I have a "Septal haematoma"?

Usually, if there is a large septal haematoma, the nose will feel blocked. However, the nose will often feel blocked after it is broken, from dried blood and swelling or from a deviated septum.

The only way to know for certain is for a doctor to look inside your nose. We recommend you see your GP.

Do I need Xrays?

Plain Xrays are not very useful and generally will not change your medical management.

Sometimes a CT scan may be ordered, mainly to look for other facial fractures.

It has been a few days and my nose still feels blocked. What should I do?

Broken Nose - Few days After a few days, the soft tissue swelling inside the nose will have gone down and the dried blood will have cleared away. You should now be able to breath through the nose. If your nose still feels blocked, you may have suffered a deviated septum when you broke your nose. You may need to undergo a "Septoplasty" procedure.

Please call us on 9680 8800 to make an appointment to see Dr Singh.

Click here to find out more about "Septoplasty"


I broke my nose more than 2 weeks ago. What should I do?

The following information relates to a broken nose only. If you have other injuries (cuts over the nose, other facial fractures, injuries to the eyes, mouth, face or brain), you should see your GP.

In general, a broken nose can result in 2 problems:

  • a change in the shape of the nose
  • a blocked nose

 

I broke my nose more than 2 weeks ago. My nose looks different. What should I do?

Broken Nose WeeksUnder 2 weeks from the time of injury, with minor injuries, it is often possible to perform a simple corrective procedure. In this procedure, Dr Singh pushes on the nose and the nose re-breaks along the existing fracture lines. Dr Singh then re-sets the bones of the nose into the correct position. The procedure is relatively quick, performed while you are asleep (general anaesthetic) and no cuts are made.

After 2 weeks from the time of injury, a simple corrective procedure cannot be performed. This is because the fracture lines have already begun healing. Pushing on the nose after 2 weeks will not result in a break along the existing fracture lines - instead the nose may break in the wrong position, causing more deformity.

After 2 weeks from the time of injury, to correct the shape of the nose requires a bigger rhinoplasty operation. This can take several hours. Cuts are made and chisels used to re-shape the nose. With a rhinoplasty operation, the nose can be re-shaped much more. A rhinoplasty operation can be performed at any time after your injury. For more information about rhinoplasty click here.

I broke my nose more than 2 weeks ago. My nose still feels blocked. What should I do?

If your nose still feels blocked more than 2 weeks after your injury, you may have suffered a deviated septum when you broke your nose. You may need to undergo a "Septoplasty" procedure. Please call us on 9680 8800 to make an appointment to see Dr Singh.

Click here to find out more about "Septoplasty"

Tell me more about the simple corrective procedure?

Broken Nose - Closed ReductionWhen the nose breaks, fracture lines form in the bones of the nose. Soon after the injury, the fracture lines start to heal. Up to 2 weeks from the time of injury, the healing tissue is weak and can be easily broken again. After 2 weeks, the healing tissue is strong and difficult to break.

In the first 2 weeks after a minor broken nose, the easiest way to fix the shape is to break the healing tissue along the fracture lines and set the broken fragments back into the correct position. This is relatively simple corrective procedure. Dr Singh will perform this procedure while you are asleep (general anaesthetic). Using special instruments, the nose is pushed back in to shape. Dr Singh then applies a special plaster, which stays on for 1 week. After the plaster comes off, you must avoid bumping the nose for 6 weeks until it is back to full strength.

A simple corrective procedure can only return the nose back to its previous shape or close to what the previous shape was. A simple corrective procedure is not the same as a full rhinoplasty. A simple corrective procedure cannot improve the shape of the nose to make it look better than how it looked before your injury. Most patients are very happy with the results of this procedure. A few patients are dissatisfied with the results and will then chose to undergo a full rhinoplasty operation.

DISCLAIMER: The material on this page represents general information only and is NOT medical advice. For specific medical advice about your individual circumstances you must consult a trained medical practitioner. Always see your GP first. If your GP is unable to fix your nose or sinus problem, ask your GP for a referral to Dr Singh. Dr Singh always works together with you and your GP to achieve your best health outcome. IMPORTANT: Do not try to diagnose your medical problem by yourself! Do not rely solely on information found on the internet. Always see your GP first.

Copyright Notice: The material on this page is protected by International Copyright Legislation and remains the intellectual property of ENT Sydney, Dr Narinder Singh. Do not copy any part of this page or this website, on the internet, in print or in any other form. Unlicensed copies of this information are automatically detected by our Internet hosting service. Offenders will be prosecuted.

This material may be reproduced, with written permission, under license from the copyright holder. A licensing fee applies. For further information, please contact us . Charitable or non-profit organisations wishing to reproduce this information should contact us .

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