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Nose fracture

Nasal fracture

Definition

A nose fracture is a break in the bone or cartilage over the bridge, or in the sidewall or septum (structure that divides the nostrils) of the nose.

Alternative Names

Fracture of the nose; Broken nose; Nasal fracture; Nasal bone fracture; Nasal septal fracture 

Considerations

A fractured nose is the most common fracture of the face. It most often occurs after an injury and often occurs with other fractures of the face.

Nose injuries and neck injuries are often seen together. A blow that is forceful enough to injure the nose may be hard enough to injure the neck.

Serious nose injuries cause problems that need a health care provider's attention right away. For example, damage to the cartilage can cause a collection of blood to form inside the nose. If this blood is not drained right away, it can cause an abscess or a permanent deformity that blocks the nose. It may lead to tissue death and cause the nose to collapse.

For minor nose injuries, the provider may want to see the person within the first week after the injury to see if the nose has moved out of its normal shape.

Sometimes, surgery may be needed to correct a nose or septum that has been bent out of shape by an injury.

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

The bruised appearance most often disappears after 2 weeks.

First Aid

If a nose injury happens:

Do Not

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Get medical help right away if:

Prevention

Wear protective headgear while playing contact sports, or riding bicycles, skateboards, roller skates, or rollerblades.

Use seat belts and appropriate car seats when driving.

References

Chegar BE, Tatum SA. Nasal fractures. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund V, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 33.

Christophel JJ. Facial, eye, nasal, and dental injuries. In: Miller MD, Thompson SR, eds. DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 27.

Malaty J. Facial and skull fractures. In: Eiff MP, Hatch R, eds. Fracture Management for Primary Care, Updated Edition. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2018:chap 17.

Mayersak RJ. Facial trauma. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 35.

Rodriguez ED, Dorafshar AH, Manson PN. Facial injuries. In: Rodriguez ED, Losee JE, Neligan PC, eds. Plastic Surgery: Volume 3: Craniofacial, Head and Neck Surgery and Pediatric Plastic Surgery. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 3.


Review Date: 11/4/2018
Reviewed By: Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.