Did you break your nose? In this guide, double board-certified facial plastic surgeon & NYC sinus specialist Garrett Bennett, MD discusses signs that may help you determine if your nose is broken or not. Dr. Bennett specializes in sinus surgery in his private practice in New York. He also serves as an attending physician at Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital and Lenox Hill Hospital.

Common Signs

Bandaged Nose

The most common, and perhaps most obvious, sign is if you have suffered an injury to your nose. An altered appearance of your nose after an injury is a common sign that your nose may be broken. The most frequent nasal injuries in children and adults are typically attributed to playing sports, car accidents, falling or fighting.

In the elderly, the most common reason for a nose break is from falling due to loss of balanc
e or fainting
. When an injury occurs to the nose, what usually happens is that the septum—the part of your nose that divides your two nostrils—separates or bends out of its place.

It’s important to keep in mind that every individual is a unique case and these injuries can take a few days to develop and even manifest as symptoms.

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Uncommon Signs

The most common misconception is that signs and symptoms are directly related. That may not be the case because if you do not see any change in the shape of your nose from an injury, there may still be internal damage done to the nose. Internal damage is an uncommon sign that if left untreated can have long-term effects on your body.

In some cases, the nose doesn’t heal properly and can still suffer a fracture even though it appears to be normal on the outside. As discussed in the common signs, when the injury affects your septum, it may or may not be visible.

A normal injury to the nose takes about 2 weeks on average to heal. If your injury does not heal within that time frame, I recommend seeking medical attention to evaluate the severity on your injury.

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Symptoms of a Broken Nose

When you break your nose, there are some symptoms your body could feel. Typically, symptoms surrounding an injury to the nose may include:

  • Change in the shape of your nose
  • Bruising around your nose and eyes
  • Pain and / or sensitivity when touching your nose
  • Bleeding from your nose
  • Difficulty breathing through your nose
  • Severe headaches
  • Mucus discharge

These are just some of the common symptoms of a broken nose. Depending on your case, there could be others. For example, the severity of the injury you suffered to your nose could also affect you neck form the impact or trauma.

In some cases, a nose injury can in fact lead to life-threatening symptoms that require immediate medical attention. These symptoms could be excessive, or extremely severe symptoms of those described above. Always consult with your doctor to see if you require any further care or treatment.

Long-Term Effects

If left untreated, you can suffer long-term effects from having a broken nose. It can lead to deformities and breathing issues. If the injury caused your septum to shift, you can become a higher risk to allergies, sleeping issues, shortness in breath, and/or sinus infections. Other long-term effects that could occur are infections to the bones in the face, damage to the tissue and structure of your nose, or a perforation in your septum.

In conclusion, when injuries occur to your nose, it is best to seek medical attentio to determine how severe of an injury you have suffered, and to get the best treatment possible to mitigate any potential long-term effects of a broken nose.

About the Author

Garrett Bennett, MD

Dr. Bennett is a Double Board Certified Facial Surgeon at New York City Sinus Surgery and is regarded as one of New York City’s premier sinus surgery specialists. He focuses on improving the ability to breathe through functional surgical intervention. To learn more about his practice and read his sinus health blog, please visit Dr. Bennett’s website.

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