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A nasal fracture
is a crack or break in your nose. You may have a break in the upper nose (bridge), the side, or in the septum. The septum is in the middle of the nose and divides your nostrils. Nasal fractures are caused by a hard hit to the nose. They may be caused by a motor vehicle crash, sports injury, fall, or a fight.
Common signs and symptoms include the following:
- Pain and swelling
- Deformed nose
- Crackling sound when you touch or move your nose
- Bruising on your nose or under your eyes
Seek care immediately if:
- You feel like one or both of your nasal passages are blocked and you have trouble breathing.
- Clear fluid is leaking from your nose.
- Your have severe nose pain, even after you take medicine.
- You have double vision or have problems moving your eyes.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever.
- You continue to have nosebleeds.
- You have a headache that gets worse, even after you take pain medicine.
- Your splint or packing are loose.
- You have questions about your condition or care.
- Medicine may be given to decrease pain or help prevent a bacterial infection. Ask how to take pain medicine safely. Medicine may also be given to decrease nasal swelling and help make breathing easier.
- Wound care may help stop bleeding. If you have a hematoma (collection of blood) inside your nose, it will be drained. Healthcare providers may place packing (gauze or other material) inside your nose to soak up blood.
- Closed reduction may be done to put your nasal bones back into the correct position. Local or general anesthesia is used during this procedure. This procedure may be done right away or several days after your injury when the swelling has decreased. Surgery (open reduction) to put your bones back into place may be needed for severe fractures.
- Splints or packing help keep your nose in place for 7 to 10 days after a reduction. Ask your healthcare provider how to care for your wounds, splint, or packing.
Manage your nasal fracture:
- Apply ice on your nose for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
- Elevate your head when you lie down. This will help decrease swelling and pain. You may need to see a specialist 3 to 5 days later for tests or more treatment after swelling has decreased.
- Protect your nose to prevent bleeding, bruising, or another fracture. Try not to bump your nose on anything. You may not be able to participate in sports for up to 6 weeks.
Follow up with a specialist or your healthcare provider in 2 to 5 days as directed:
Write down any questions you have so you remember to ask them during your visits. Sometimes follow-up care is needed months or even years later to correct problems.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.