Symptoms and Complications Associated with Nasal Fractures

Continuing our video series, Dr. Jerome Hester explains “Symptoms and Complications Associated with Nasal Fractures.”

The nasal bones are the most commonly broken bones in the body. It actually does not take a significant amount of force to break these bones, and so routine activities, even including many sports, or even having an unfortunate accident around the home, can lead to a broken bone.

Typically, the symptoms are discomfort, many times the area around the bridge of the nose will turn black and blue, there is sometimes nasal bleeding associated with this, and congestion. Immediate treatment, including ice to the area, keeping the head elevated, and even the use of over-the-counter nasal decongestants sprays for a short period of time, usually no longer than three to five days, can be used to treat these symptoms.

Many times, we do not even perform X-rays of a presumed nasal fracture, since the X-ray itself will not necessarily determine whether any treatment is taken. Certainly, however, if there’s a loss of consciousness associated with the accident, or if there’s any concern that other fractures of the bones of the face could have occurred, medical attention is warranted.

The main reasons to address a nasal fracture are either that the portion of the nasal bones and the septum inside the nasal cavity are crooked or deviated enough to cause obstruction, or that the external bones have cause a cosmetic deformity. If either one of these issues have come about, then the choice can be either to do a closed fracture, where no incision is made, and usually under mild anesthesia. The fracture is simply reset back into position. On the other hand, many times these abnormalities are not noted immediately, or the decision is to not proceed immediately into a surgical procedure to correct them.

Both abnormalities, the nasal obstruction, as well as the cosmetic deformity, can then be treated later on in a more formal way, to either correct the deviation of the septum, or to reset the nasal bones to attain normal cosmetic result.