Is It Possible For an Xray of Nose to Show Prior Trauma?

Hi there, I was curious to know if it is possible for me to get an xray taken of my nose and if a doctor is able to see from the results if my nose had been broken in the past (6-8years ago). I know that during my early teen years my nose was hurt multiple times but I feel that as I am a male I can only justify getting my dorsal hump straightened out if it can be proved that my surgery is more "corrective" than improving something that was more likely hereditary. Thanks very much!

Doctor Answers 6

Does XRAY show nasal trauma?

Yes an Xray of the nose will show nasal fractures but will not show evidence of cartilage tears or fractures and since cartilage makes up at least 50% of the nasal Xray doesn't reveal all nasal trauma.

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

CT scan would be more sensitive in finding old fractures

It may be, but a CT scan would be more sensitive in finding old fractures so i suggest that.  Good luck!

Babak Azizzadeh, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 9 reviews


Nasal bone x-ray are difficult  to interpret because the nasal bones are so small and have natural surture lines tha can mimic fracture lines. However, if the nose is twisted or has a step off fracture, that can be documented

David A. Bray, Sr., MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

X rays in nose trauma

Plain  x-rays of the nose are very unreliable in documenting old trauma. CT scans are sometimes better but in general the history of trauma and the physical exam is the most reliable. Your question implies that you are trying to get some documentation for your insurance to pay for your rhinoplasty. In Florida insurance companies take the position that surgery to correct an external deformity even if due to trauma is not covered unless there is a medical need to correct it (breathing problem?) It doesn't sound like your dorsal hump would qualify. Good luck!

Michael L. Schwartz, MD
West Palm Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Value of Nasal X-rays

If you break the bones of your nose they typically heal by what is called fibrous union.  Fibrous unions will be visible on an x-ray, typically for the rest of your life.  This is different from other bones which heal across a fracture with bone and eventually become impossible or nearly impossible to detect.

The value of this information is dubious however.  A nose that has had a previous fracture needs no treatment if it looks good and breathes well.  A nose that has never had a fracture, but looks bad or can't pass air well does need treatment.  Knowing that the bone has been broken really doesn't change the surgical plan, so I see no point in getting an x-ray.

If you injured the cartilage of your nose, this will not be visible on an x-ray. 

Louis W. Apostolakis, MD
Austin Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Determining trauma to the nose

Trauma to the nose can usually be determined through an exam and /or x-rays. It is difficult to always pinpoint when the trauma occurred it could be from birth through childhood. When examining the nose via sight it is easy to see whether or not there is a deviation of the septum. Typically with most deviations you will have a degree of breathing difficulty. A rhinoplasty which is considered a cosmetic procedure is different then a septorhinoplasty where you are also fixing the function of the nose as well as the cosmetic changes. You should not have to justify getting your nose done due to the fact it is only cosmetic in nature. I have a very large male rhinoplasty practice and the key to male rhinoplasty is refining the nose while keeping it very masculine and in line with your other features. When done properly most people should not notice your "nose job" they should just think you look better and not really be able to completely pinpoint why! I would suggest while you are in the consulting phase to see a good board certified surgeon who utilizes an imaging computer so the surgeon can show you the proposed results prior to the procedure. This will give you a good idea how your nose will look with the dorsal modification and other changes while keeping your masculine appearance. If you really feel like you need an excuse to justify to your procedure to your friends then simply tell them you can't breath! Best regards!

Michael Elam, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 208 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.