Nasal Fracture

A nasal fracture is a break or crack in the bones of the nose. A minor break usually heals in a month. You often will receive black eyes from a nasal fracture. This is not a cause for concern. The black eyes will go away over 1 to 2 weeks.

DIAGNOSIS

Your caregiver may want to examine you if you are concerned about a fracture of the nose. X-rays of the nose may not show a nasal fracture even when one is present. Sometimes your caregiver must wait 1 to 5 days after the injury to re-check the nose for alignment and to take additional X-rays. Sometimes the caregiver must wait until the swelling has gone down.

TREATMENT

Minor fractures that have caused no deformity often do not require treatment. More serious fractures where bones are displaced may require surgery. This will take place after the swelling is gone. Surgery will stabilize and align the fracture.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Put ice on the injured area.

  • Put ice in a plastic bag.

  • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.

  • Leave the ice on for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day.

  • Take medications as directed by your caregiver.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.

  • If your nose starts bleeding, squeeze the soft parts of the nose against the center wall while you are sitting in an upright position for 10 minutes.

  • Contact sports should be avoided for at least 3 to 4 weeks or as directed by your caregiver.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Your pain increases or becomes severe.

  • You continue to have nosebleeds.

  • The shape of your nose does not return to normal within 5 days.

  • You have pus draining from the nose.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have bleeding from your nose that does not stop after 20 minutes of pinching the nostrils closed and keeping ice on the nose.

  • You have clear fluid draining from your nose.

  • You notice a grape-like swelling on the dividing wall between the nostrils (septum). This is a collection of blood (hematoma) that must be drained to help prevent infection.

  • You have difficulty moving your eyes.

  • You have recurrent vomiting.