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I went out dancing with friends last night and slipped on the dance floor. How Do I Know if my Nose is Broken?

Oh my poor nose. I went out dancing with friends last night and slipped on the dance floor. The glass with the drink I was holding fell right on my face,smack in the nose. It bled but not from inside the nose, it was bleeding from the cut the glass caused. The cut is small and not deep so I have neosporin and a bandaid on for now. But my nose is swollen and hurts. I can move it ( like when you scrunch up your nose). I don't think it's crooked, I can't really tell. How can I tell if it's broken?

Doctor Answers (3)

Is your nose broken?

+1
Dear Natural2011, Normally if a patient breaks their nose, there will be prominent bruising under the skin since the fracture site of the bone causes bleeding under the skin. Persistent tenderness over the area would also be consistent with a fracture. Certainly, if there is an obvious cosmetic deformity you know that the nose has been broken. The second question though that needs to be addressed is, even if the bone is broken, it does not necessarily need surgery. If the appearance looks the same as before, there is nothing to be done. Other reasons that would require operation is if the nose persistently kept bleeding or if there was a hematoma (blood collection) of the septum internally. That would require surgery to drain and can easily be ascertained with a simple inspection of the internal nose. I hope this has been helpful to you. Sincerely, Robert D. Wilcox, M.D.


Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Diagnosing a broken nose.

+1

Usually if someone breaks his/her nose it will bleed from the inside and usually quite vigorously for a few minutes. A nasal fracture also usually causes a person to develop black and blue bruising around the eyes that usually appears a day or two after the fracture.

Interestingly, x-rays are usually NOT helpful for diagnosing a broken nose. The reason is simple: if the nose is now obviously crooked and wasn't before, you know it's broken and you don't need the x-ray to tell you that, but if the nose is not crooked, it's irrelevant if it's broken since it will simply heal in position and be back to normal within weeks, so again an x-ray is useless.

The important thing after a possible nasal fracture, though, is to have a physician make sure the patient doesn't have a septal hematoma--a collection of blood in the septal space. Although rare, a septal hematoma can destroy the blood supply to the septal cartilage leading to loss of cartilage, possible infection, and collapse of the nose.

All the best,

--DCP

Pearson Facial Plastic Surgery®

David C. Pearson, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

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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.