Can a Broken Nose Be Reset Years After Being Broken?

Nose was broken in the late 90s. Can it be reset by a ENT doctor now?

Doctor Answers 30

Nose can be reset years after injury

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Yes, a nose reset years after an injury and can be done through rhinoplasty, specifically an open reduction of the nasal fracture. If it has caused breathing issues with the nose, surgery may be covered under the patient’s medical insurance if determined a medical necessity. A qualified ENT facial plastic surgeon that has performed many of these would be your best option.

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 158 reviews


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Yes. In a recently broken nose the bones can be manually repositioned. If the bones have healed, then they simply need to be re-broken - osteoomies must be performed to recreate the fracture, and then the bones may be repositioned. An ENT doctor who does not perform rhinoplasty may not be comfortable doing this, but a surgeon who performs frequent rhinoplasty would generally find this to be a minor procedure.

Daniel G. Becker, MD
Voorhees Facial Plastic Surgeon

Timing of rhinoplasty for the broken nose

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Typically, we try to reset the bones before they've healed. After that, the surgery essentially becomes a rhinoplasty. The specific maneuvers needed will depend on the individual nose. This may include a combination of breaking/resetting the bones and camouflage techniques (using grafts, etc).

Best of luck to you.

Sam Most, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Resetting broken nose after many years

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A nose cannot be "reset", but it can be realigned with an osteotomy. Every alteration in the nose affects other elements. For example, an osteotomy alone might cause worsening of the breathing if it is not specifically addressed.

For the best result, the nose as a whole should be evaluate, the breathing maximized, and the appearance made the best possible.

This is not just a reconstructive procedure like removing a mole. It is an aesthetic procedure and a functional one that requires very careful assessment before the surgery and a plan that maximizes all the elements above.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 195 reviews

Can A Broken Nose Be Reset Years After Being Broken?

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Yes, a broken nose can actually be reset no matter how long it has been. Even if it was broken 20 years ago and the nose has taken another shape it can still be addressed using an osteotomy and septoplasty. This has to be performed by a rhinoplasty surgeon who is experienced in carrying out the surgery. This is because rhinoplasty is a very technical surgery.

Colin Hong, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Correcting a broken nose

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A broken nose is a commonly treated problem by a facial plastic surgeon.

Depending on the nature of the nasal concern (functional or cosmetic), the procedure may be covered by your health insurance carrier.

If the septum or nasal bones have healed in improper alignment, these structures can be surgically adjusted to improve both your breathing and the cosmetic appearance of your nose. Photos taken prior to the injury can help aid the surgeon with an idea of your previous appearance.  A complete nasal exam and history can be performed in the office with a surgeon who specialized in rhinoplasty to help delineate the treatment options available.

Jeffrey Rawnsley, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Resetting a Broken Nose

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So when you break your nose you have a small window of about 10 days to do a closed reduction which basically means gently shift the bones back into position.  If you miss that window then you need to wait till they heal and then the bones need to be refractured and repositioned.  This is what you need and it can be done at anytime after a fracture once the bones are healed.

Rady Rahban, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 142 reviews

Resetting a Broken Nose

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If your nose was broken about 20 years ago the bones have already healed in their current position.  The bones can be re-set, but they must be re-fractured with a procedure called an osteotomy. This will help to straighten the nasal bones. This is often done as part of a Rhinoplasty surgery. Visit with a rhinoplasty surgery specialist in order to see if you are a good candidate for this. 

Jacob D. Steiger, MD
Boca Raton Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 71 reviews

Old broken nose

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When the nasal bones initially break from injury, there is about a 2 week window where they are easily mobile and can be pushed back into position without any incisions.  After this period, the bones are re-fused and repair requires "re-breaking" them.  This process is accomplished with osteotomies and entails rhinoplasty surgery.  If you are unhappy with the altered shape of you nose from an old injury, it is probably best to consult with a rhinoplasty specialist.

Sirius K. Yoo, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Rhinoplasty - Years Later

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The duration of your broken nose is not a determining factor on whether or not a rhinoplasty can be performed. Many patients wrongfully assume that there is a set time period during which time a nose job will be most effective, but this is untrue. Because the nasal bones can become re-fused in a way that results in difficulty breathing or crookedness, a nose job can be very beneficial. A qualified plastic surgeon can perform a rhinoplasty on a broken nose no matter how long ago the trauma was experienced. 

Sam Rizk, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 79 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.