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Flying Before Fixing a Broken Nose?

I was in a car accident and broke my nose in 3 places, how soon can I fly? The doctor said the bones would go back together by themselves, but I need to fly very soon, but I will be flying privately. What suggestions do you have for flying privately, and when should I see a plastic surgeon or ENT? I am finding it hard to believe I wont need surgery to realign my nose. I can breathe ok, through the swelling but when I move around alot it gets harder to breathe. I would appreciate any help, I have never broken my nose before and I dont know what to do next.

Doctor Answers 14

Flying with broken nose

It is not necessary to fix a broken nose if you don't suffer from any functional issues, although it sounds like you do. 

Flying is okay with a broken nose, though make sure to bring something along that can alleviate any breathing issues as you take off or land.

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Okay to fly before fixing broken nose

It is acceptable to fly either privately or commercially after a broken nose. Carry a bottle of Afrin nasal spray with you on the airplane to prevent nosebleeds. See an ENT surgeon within two weeks after the injury to start the process of repairing your nose. It is also important to make sure you do not have a septal hematoma from the injury. Avoid flying for at least a week after any nasal surgery to repair the broken nose.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Broken nose and flying

Flying after breaking your nose should be ok, but you may feel fairly congested.   You may want to take a decongestant prior to flying.  As for fixing the nasal fractures. If your shape looks ok and is not distorted then you probably are OK.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Flying with Broken Nose

Use a nasal decongestant spray before take-off and landing. While not an absolute emergency, i strongly recommend you see a nasal surgeon as soon as possible to evaluate the extent of your injury, even if you do not choose to have correction at this time.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

See a nasal surgeon

After reading your question it is clear that you have an issue that needs evaluation. See a nasal surgeon (an ENT or a plastic surgeon that does a lot nasal surgery), have your nose evaluated. As far as flying the risks are minimal. A nose bleed is the worse thing that could happen, and if you have tears inside your nose from the break this may be a possibility. Hope this helps.

Ivan Wayne, MD
Oklahoma City Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Flying before fixing a broken nose

It sounds like you have not seen a ENT or Plastic surgeon. If not than why ask you questions here? GO SEE a boarded doctor NOW!

From MIAMI Dr. B

See a Rhinoplasty Specialist within 10 days of your nasal trauma.

If your nose is crooked and needs to be "realigned", then you might benefit from a "Closed Reduction" of your nasal fracture to attempt to restore a straight appearance. 80% of patients will not require any further intervention after a closed reduction is performed. This involves repositioning your nasal bones with local anesthetic in the office.

I hope this is helpful for you.

Eric M. Joseph, MD
West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 307 reviews

Flying After Nose Fracture

Being in New York there should be no shortage of Nose professionals to examine you. I would seriously recommend you see one to determine if replacing the nasal bones back ("Closed Reduction") is needed as it should be done within 7-10 days from the injury and an examination of the septum is in order to make sure you did not develop a blood collection (Septal Hematoma) there which must be drained immediately.

In general, your situation is different than someone who spent a few hours on an operating room table and has not moved much after-wards (making them prone to developing clots) who then compounds this with a long dehydrating, immobile trip greatly increasing the likelihood of such clots traveling to the lungs (Pulmonary embolus). In your case, you may have nasal dryness and or bleeding as a rare potential complications of a flight. I would focus on getting a competent nose exam instead to plan the PROPER management of the fracture.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

Flying With a Nasal Fracture, When to Fix?

Hi Lmira,

Displaced nasal bones after nasal fracture should be realigned once the swelling goes down, usually about 4 to 7 days after the fracture.  So you should see an ENT or plastic surgeon for evaluation asap (before you fly, or immediately upon arrival at your destination).  Do not wait too long as the fractured bones will heal together (by about 18 days) and then it is much more difficult to straighten.  If your bones are crooked, then a closed nasal reduction (manipulation of your bones without any incisions) is indicated.  If your bones are not displaced then you do not need any immediate surgery.   It is okay to fly shortly after the trauma though there is an increased risk of nose bleed.   If you have any doubts, tell that private plane pilot to land at Van Nuys Airport and I'll come and take a look.  Safe travels.

Good luck and be well.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Flying after nasal fracture

You should be able to fly at this stage, as it seems that you are over a week out from your injury. The only concern is that you might have a nosebleed during your flight, which would be unusual.  In some cases, we do wait to see if a patient needs surgery after a fracture.  Once your swelling comes down, it will be much easier to assess.  Best wishes, /nsn.

Nina S. Naidu, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.