Breathing Problems and Cracking Noise in Nose. What Can I Do? (photo)

Hi, I believe I fractured my nose a long time ago and have been uncomfortable with the shape of my nose ever since. I can only breath through one nostril at a time (periodically changes) and I can force it to switch by pulling on my nose to unobstruct the other nostril's pathway. On that note, whenever I pull on my nose I can hear this cracking noise. So what do you guys think is it broken and can you id the deformity. I posted 3 pictures if you need full face let me know.

Doctor Answers 8

Wise Cracking Nose

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A complete history and full nasal exam is in order.  You see, within your nose, there is erectile tissue throughout your nasal conchae (turbinate tissue) and these structures help control nasal airflow via the autonomic nervous system.  And that clicking sound you hear/feel: It is the juxtaposed lateral nasal cartilages moving against one another.  Isn't the nose simply fascinating?!

San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Septoplasty to improve breathing problems.

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From your photographs and description of your breathing problems it is likely that a septoplasty and turbinate surgery would be beneficial.  It is possible that other reconstructive methods would be appropriate to ensure an adequate airway.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Breathing Problems and "Cracking" Years after Nasal Fracture

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If you fractured your nose "a long time ago" the nose has healed.   The size of each nasal airway normally will change throughout the day even in people without symptomatic breathing issues.You are aware of this because you have some anatomic obstruction.An examination would be necessary to determine the cause of your breathing problem.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews


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An in-office exam is essential to determine what you may need to have done to improve the shape as well as function;

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

See a specialist for a rhinoplasty consultation

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If you are unhappy with the appearance of your nose it really does not matter if you think you broke it or not. The nose does have a normal nasal cycle and most only breathe through one side at a time to allow for a natural 'rest' of the nasal lining. Time to see a plastic surgeon for an exam.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Functional rhinoplasty

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It is difficult to know if your symptoms are related to previous trauma as they are not uncommon complaints in patients without previous injury.  The cracking is probably nasal cartilage rubbing against one another andI would discourage you from doing this if you can avoid it.  It highly likely that your functional airway can  be improved along with your profile.   I would recommend an experienced rhinoplasty surgeon who specializes in airway problems such as a facial plastic surgeon.   Good luck with your search.    

Craig S. Murakami, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon

Breathing one side to the other

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The turbinates have a mechanism called periodicity where one swells and the other shrinks. So you can breath better on one side then the other. The cracking is the upper More a pop than a crack.latera cartilages being pulled from against the septum .

Richard Ellenbogen, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

I would suggest an assessment by a board certified plastic surgeon

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You might have something very simple going on, or the situation might be more complex. A thorough assessment by a board certified plastic surgeon will help you get to the bottom of the problem. A good surgeon will be able to guide you through options that are available and help you achieve what is realistic and hopefully as close yo what you want as possible.

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.