Because the nose projects outwards and is central to the face, it tends to be one of the most frequently broken appendages in the human anatomy. Nasal fractures can occur as the result of a brawl, a car accident, a fall, or a sports injury. The sports most commonly implicated in nasal fractures are hockey, boxing, basketball, skiing and wrestling.
COMMON INDICATORS OF A BROKEN NOSE ARE:
- BLACK EYES OR BRUISING
- ACUTE BREATHING PROBLEMS
- SINUS INFECTIONS
- FACIAL PAIN/TENDERNESS
- CROOKED NOSE
It’s important to see a physician as soon as possible if you suspect you may be suffering from a nasal fracture. Failure to do so can result in serious medical complications, not to mention significant alterations to the cosmetic appearance of the nose and face.
If the nasal bones have shifted out of alignment and less than 14 days have passed since the trauma, a facial plastic surgeon can repair the fracture right away. Being proactive at this early stage is the best way to ensure a complete recovery for the nose, both aesthetically and functionally. Otherwise the patient must wait for several months until the break has completely healed, at which time a more extensive repair surgery such as a septorhinoplasty will be required.
CHOOSING YOUR SURGEON FOR NASAL FRACTURE REPAIR
Because nasal fractures may affect several parts of the nose at once, such as the septum, the bridge and the tip cartilage, repairing a broken nose is a complex, painstaking procedure that requires a surgeon who is well-versed in the most advanced cosmetic, reconstructive and functional techniques. Dr. Shabdiz holds a board certification in reconstructive facial plastic surgery and otolaryngology (ENT medicine), and brings to the operating table a lifetime of expertise specifically in nasal surgery.
During your initial consultation, Dr. Shabdiz will determine the nature and consequences of the fracture. He will gather your medical information such as prior surgeries and current medications, and discuss with you your goals for the procedure. If cosmetic changes are desired, Dr. Shabdiz will outline his treatment plan for your rhinoplasty surgery in addition to the nasal fracture repair. Many patients find that this is a perfect time to make long-desired changes to the look of their nose, since they are already undergoing nasal surgery.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM THE PROCEDURE?
Nasal fracture repair is an outpatient procedure most typically conducted under sedation or mild anesthesia. As a functional nasal surgery, it is commonly covered by insurance carriers and Medicare.
If the septum alone is fractured, repair surgery will involve a closed procedure without an incision inside the nose. In cases where the patient fails to see a surgeon within the initial 14 days, more complex strategies may be needed, such as cartilage grafting to bolster weakened nasal support.
Occasionally the tip cartilage will become fractured during physical trauma. When this happens, the doctor may opt to perform “tip-plasty” or surgery to reshape and correct the tip of the nose.
In situations where some time has passed since the fracture, it may become necessary for the doctor to perform a close or open repair procedure. This involves re-breaking the nose with a hammer and an osteotome (type of chisel), and then resetting the bones in place.
RECOVERY FROM NASAL FRACTURE REPAIR
Swelling, discomfort and bruising are very mild after nasal fracture repair surgery, however pain medications are available to you should you desire them, along with compresses. These reactions generally subside within a few weeks. The head should be kept in an elevated position, propped up by pillows, and patients should avoid rigorous exercise or physical labor for 10-14 days. Although nasal stuffiness is typical post-surgery, take care not to blow the nose, as it could disturb healing or incite infection. Lastly, eyeglasses and sunglasses should not be worn for at least 14 days following nasal fracture repair.