Nasal injuries occur frequently in some sports, and also as a result of assault or road traffic accidents. If you have a nasal injury, it is important to have it evaluated by a specialist promptly, particularly if you feel the nose may have been broken.
Nasal injuries can lead to fractures of the nasal bones - causing a deformity of the bony nasal bridge. Injury to the cartilages of nose can also cause deformity, and may compromise the nasal airway. Sometimes this only becomes apparent later, after the initial swelling and bruising has subsided.
Early management of nasal fractures
If you have just suffered a nasal injury, it is advisable to attend an Emergency Department to ensure you have not had a significant head injury. Your nose should be checked for a septal haematoma (a collection of blood under the lining of the nasal septum).
Your nose should then be examined by a specialist, ideally 5-7 days after the injury. You may or may not require a scan. If an injury to the bony nasal bridge has occurred and the nose is deviated (bent) to one side, a procedure called a manipulation under anaesthesia can be performed under local or general anaesthetic to try to get the nose to look straighter.
Injuries to the cartilage cannot be manipulated in this way, and have to be allowed to heal.
Many patients will have had an injury in the past, which has resulted in a deformity to the nose, and/or difficulty breathing through the nose. The structure and the function of the nose can be improved and restored through reconstructive surgery.
This surgery is usually known as septorhinoplasty, which aims to improve the symmetry of the nose and the function of the nasal airway. This requires very similar techniques to cosmetic nasal surgery, although the aims may be different depending on the patient's needs.