Commonly referred to as a broken nose, a nasal fracture is a break or crack in the bone in your nose. Contact with a fixed object, such as a door or wall can cause a break. Contact sports (like hockey and football) and motor vehicle accidents are common causes of a broken nose.
Pain when touched, swelling of the nose and bleeding from the nose are common symptoms of a nasal fracture. If you have a nose injury accompanied by difficulty breathing, unstoppable bleeding and a noticeable change in the shape of your nose, you should seek medical attention as it is probably broken.
To confirm a nasal fracture, your doctor will perform a physical exam. He or she will press on the sides of your nose and look inside your nostrils for signs of broken bones. Topical anesthetics may be applied before the physical exam to control the pain. An imaging test is usually unnecessary, but based on the severity of your injury a CT scan may be required if a physical exam is too painful to be performed.
The treatment for a nasal fracture depends on the severity. A minor fracture that has not changed the shape of your nose may not require medical attention at all and will heal on its own. Larger breaks will require your doctor to manually realign your nose. This procedure is performed with injected anesthesia. A nasal speculum is inserted into the nostrils and with the help of other specialty instruments your broken nose and cartilage are put back into place. An internal and external splint will be attached to help keep your nose in place while the bone heals. For severe breaks surgery may be needed.