How can I tell if my nose is crooked from trauma or just grew crooked? (Photo)

I think I broke my nose when I was 14. I didn't go to the doctor. It was really swollen and I don't remember it being crooked or at least not this bad. I'm 37 now and suffer with breathing issues because of it. I'm also very self conscious about it being crooked along with it being big and fat. I would have to rely on insurance because I know I couldn't afford it myself. I would like cosmetically for it to be straight and look better but the breathing is my main issue. What do you recommend?

Doctor Answers 9

Traumatic versus developmental nose deviation

If you broke your nose when young, it is often impossible to distinguish that from a developmental deviation. Sometimes, your doctor can feel Broken bones, which will be irregular along the side of the nose. A crooked nose that changes direction is always traumatic. Most crooked-straight noses are developmentally crooked. Correction for both types is similar, so the etiology is not really important

Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Rhinoplasty , some advices:

Thank you very much for sharing your concerns with us.

The harmony between facial parts makes us instinctively recognize the beauty... without knowing it, without defining it, just a perception that surprises and captivates us.

In this regard, I suggest perform a Closed Rhinoplasty (without visible scars) to treat the tip, base and nasal bridge.
With this procedure you get a delicate nose, better harmonize with your other facial features.

Dr. Emmanuel Mallol Cotes.-

Emmanuel Mallol Cotes, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 270 reviews

Is My Nose Crooked Secondary to Trauma or Did It Just Grow That Way

You'll never know if trauma caused your nasal deviation and breathing obstruction but the cause of you problem will not influence the treatment or insurance coverage. Most health insurance companies will pay for correction of the breathing problems but not cosmetic changes up to the limits of the policy. My staff always helps our patients deal with their insurance companies to clarify coverage.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

How can I tell of my nose is crooked from trauma or just grew crooked?

Whether the nose just grew crooked or is due to trauma is really irrelevant. What is relevant is that it is crooked and there's a breathing problem. Medical insurance will only pay for the breathing problem since that is a medical necessity. To change and straighten the nose cosmetically or shaved down dorsal hump is considered cosmetic and must be paid for by the patient. A septoplasty and a rhinoplasty are two completely separate procedures, however they can both performed simultaneously when needed. For more information about the differences between functional and cosmetic nasal surgery, please see the video below

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

Functional rhinoplasty

Thank you for your question. The only way to tell if your nose is crooked due to trauma is to look at photos before and after the trauma and see the difference. Otherwise, a functional rhinoplasty to help your breathing is appropriate. Part of functional rhinoplasty is straightening the septum and bones so your nose will look straighter. It may not be perfectly straight but better. See a surgeon and get a full exam. Good luck

Jeffrey Jumaily, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Nasal surgery

Hello and thank you for your question. Based on your photograph, you may benefit from osteotomies and spreader grafts to help straighten your nose and improve your breathing.  Make sure you specifically look at before and after pictures of real patients who have had this surgery performed by your surgeon and not just a computer animation system. The most important aspect is to find a surgeon you are comfortable with. I recommend that you seek consultation with a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon who can evaluate you in person.

Best wishes and good luck.

Richard G. Reish, M.D.
Harvard-trained plastic surgeon

Richard G. Reish, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 131 reviews


A crooked nose that needs cosmetic improvement is not covered by insurance. This would be self-pay.  Good luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Crooked noses

thank you for your question. Crooked noses can result from a multitude of issues. If you broke your nose when you were younger it will manifest later on in life as a deviated septum, which is the internal component of the nose and a crooked exoskeleton of the nose. Often times insurance companies will cover the internal component of the crookedness but the external part is deemed cosmetic. Whatever you seek to do please find the advice of a double board-certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon. 

Roberto E. Garcia, MD, FACS
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Functional Rhinoplasty

You need to have your nose assessed in person. Schedule an appointment with a board certified plastic surgeon to discuss a functional rhinoplasty. Many insurance companies will cover the cost of this although not for the cosmetic work. 


Kouros Azar

Kouros Azar, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 34 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.