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Broken Nose Rhinoplasty

A nasal fracture is what we commonly call a broken nose. It can be a very painful experience and sometimes the break is so bad that surgery is required to fix it. This article will discuss the leading causes, signs of a broken nose, as well as how broken nose rhinoplasty is performed and the recovery time.

How to Recognize If Your Nose Is Broken?

It can actually be very difficult to tell if a nose is broken and whether you need rhinoplasty surgery. Obviously, if the nose is way off to one side it probably was broken, if it is severely flattened and depressed it is probably broken, and if the bones move, it is broken.

Sometimes a nose can be technically broken but not have visible deformity and surprisingly in most cases does not cause any change in cosmetic looks.

You will look the same (after the swelling goes down in a week) and you have no change in nasal breathing. Thus, regardless of an x-ray finding, nothing needs to be done. If there is an obvious deformity or difficulty breathing after a week, then further treatment like broken nose rhinoplasty (also known as a nose job) may be the best option.

Besides obviously having a crooked nose after nasal trauma, patients may have more subtle signs as well. One good indication is if you had a bloody nose immediately after a particular nasal trauma event.

female patient with broken nose

The reason why is the nasal bone’s blood supply is provided by a structure called the periosteum. This structure surrounds the nasal bone and is as thin and fragile as tissue paper. So when the bone fractures, the periosteum overlying the fracture sheers and results in bleeding. We always ask this question to patients we evaluate after nasal trauma.

The Leading Causes of Nasal Fractures

Some of the most common causes of a broken nose include:

– falls onto a hard or sharp object (like pavement) that hits the nose and causes it to break;

– being hit in the face by an assailant or training partner during contact sports, which can cause the bones of your nose to fracture when their fist strikes you.

Should I See a Doctor With a Broken Nose?

If you suspect you might have fractured your nose you should see a doctor if:

  • there is a deformity of the nose;
  • you are having difficulty breathing through either your left or right nostril. If this persists, surgery may be recommended to heal the fracture and reduce postnasal drip symptoms.
  • you notice an immediate bruise or swelling on your nose
  • you experience intense pain

You might also get approved for an NHS nose surgery if there are medical reasons to perform a rhinoplasty.

How Is Broken Nose Rhinoplasty Performed?

Broken nose rhinoplasty is surgery to repair or reshape the nose for cosmetic reasons, or to correct a structural problem.

There are multiple techniques that can be used to achieve the best results. At Berkeley Square Medical, we aim to perform closed surgery, whenever possible.

Closed Technique

If the fracture is located in a position where it can be operated on without an open cut, the closed rhinoplasty technique is preferred by most facial surgeons.

The operation is often performed through the nostrils, which means there are no visible cuts to the face.

A closed rhinoplasty procedure normally takes around 1 hour and is performed under local anaesthesia.

Open Technique

In some cases, if the bone has fractured into multiple pieces and it would be difficult to fix through the nostrils, an open rhinoplasty may be needed.

This technique allows much greater access to the surgeon and can be used to perform bigger corrective actions or to fix both cosmetic and structural issues at the same time.

Open rhinoplasty may take up to two hours and is performed under general anaesthesia. In some cases, an intravenous drip may be placed to provide continuous pain relief.

Possible Complications

There is always some chance of possible issues with any surgery. Nose surgery after a traumatic injury may occasionally result in:

  • heavy bleeding
  • breathing difficulties
  • altered sense of smell

Talk with your facial cosmetic surgeon about the risks, benefits, and what you can expect after the procedure.


Can you get a rhinoplasty with a broken nose?

Yes. Rhinoplasty may be the optimal solution to reconstruct a fractured nose if the deformities are significant. You should see a doctor as soon as possible if you suspect a nasal fracture but you will need to wait for the swelling to go down before surgery can be performed.

How long is recovery from broken nose surgery?

The broken nose has a recovery time of six weeks before any heavy physical activity can be resumed. It’s recommended that you wait until at least four months post-surgery before attempting any contact sports.

If you’ve broken your nose, or if it’s been fractured for a while and the symptoms are interfering with day-to-day life, don’t suffer in silence; seek help from an experienced rhinoplasty surgeon.

Can you fix a broken nose after it’s healed?

It is recommended to see a doctor within two weeks of the fracture before the broken pieces have the chance to heal the wrong way. However, a good cosmetic surgeon can heal your broken nose long after the initial injury.

Rhinoplasty is a medical procedure carried out to repair or reconstruct the nose following trauma, including broken noses that have not been treated in time.

Why do they break your nose for rhinoplasty?

During rhinoplasty surgery, the surgeon may need to break your nose in order to access the nasal cartilage that needs correction. This is called osteotomy and is done to correct the nasal bone.

The other possible reason for this may be when a patient has a wide nasal bone structure and desires a narrower shape. The plastic surgeon may need to break the bones in order to bring them closer together and form a narrower base.

What is the difference between rhinoplasty and resetting a broken nose?

When you are resetting a broken nose you are talking about a procedure that is performed within 7-10 days of the injury to ensure that the broken bones are healing in the correct position.

A rhinoplasty procedure can involve the same process but with more emphasis on the appearance of the nose as well. You can have both the broken bones reconstructed correctly and some cosmetic deformities fixed during the same surgery.   

Sanjay Rai

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Sanjay Rai

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