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Nasal Fracture

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.

What is a nasal fracture?

A nasal fracture is a crack or break in your nose. You may have a break in the upper nose (bridge), the side, or the septum. The septum is in the middle of the nose and divides your nostrils.

What are the signs and symptoms of a nasal fracture?

  • Pain and swelling
  • Nosebleed
  • Deformed nose
  • Crackling sound when you touch or move your nose
  • Bruising on your nose or under your eyes

How is a nasal fracture diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask you when, where, and how the injury occurred. You may need any of the following:

  • A nasal exam will be done to check your injury. You will be given pain medicine before your healthcare provider touches and looks at the outside and inside of your nose. Your provider will remove blood clots and check for hematomas (collections of blood).
    Septal Hematoma
  • An x-ray or CT may show the nasal fracture. You may be given contrast liquid before the scan. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.

How is a nasal fracture treated?

  • 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 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 gone down. 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.

How do I care for my nasal fracture at home?

  • 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 gone down.
    Elevate Head (Adult)
  • Protect your nose to prevent bleeding, bruising, or another fracture. Try not to bump your nose on anything. You may not be able to play sports for up to 6 weeks.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You feel like one or both of your nasal passages are blocked and you have trouble breathing.
  • Clear fluid is leaking from your nose.
  • You have severe nose pain, even after you take medicine.
  • You have double vision or have problems moving your eyes.

When should I call my doctor?

  • 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 is loose.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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