Rhinoplasty to Fix a Broken Nose
We in the Seattle area enjoy the active, sports-filled lifestyle that our mountains, forests and beaches provide. But hold tight to your handlebars and watch that teammate’s elbows because all that energy could come in contact with your nose. With its protruding central position in the face, it is no surprise that the nose is the most commonly broken bone in the head.
Pain, swelling and nosebleed accompany a broken nose. Bruising around the eyes (black eyes) can develop and the nose may look crooked if the bones and cartilage have shifted positions. Breathing may be difficult as if something is blocking air passages. The cartilage and bone in the middle of the nose, the septum, can accumulate blood forming a septal hematoma. Trauma can impede breathing as well as affect appearance.
If your nose has been on the losing end of a collision, check with a medical professional to rule out a septal hematoma or other potential problems. If present, a septal hematoma needs to be drained promptly since persistence of blood can cause destruction of the nasal septum with the possibility of a resulting saddle nose deformity. An X-ray or a CT scan may be necessary to determine the extent of injuries.
Most broken noses can however be taken care of at home without further treatment. If the skin and septum are intact and the nose is not out of position, even if the bones are broken, rest and gentle care may be all that is required.
However, a broken displaced nose will need further treatment. Often the crooked nasal bones can be straightened in the office with local anesthesia. A splint placed on the nose after the procedure will keep the bones from shifting out of place. This procedure must be done within two weeks of the injury, before the broken bones set in their altered position.
After two weeks, if the nose is deviated, repair needs to wait about three to six months for the bones to set in their new position and for swelling to go down. Surgery at this point can address straightening the nasal deviation, breathing problems, or changing the appearance of the nose. Reconstructive plastic surgery can restore the nose to the way it was before the accident but should you desire, changing the appearance of the nose, a rhinoplasty, can also be performed.
Recovery after a rhinoplasty can take several weeks depending on the complexity of the procedure. Swelling of the nose starts to go down after several days and bruising around the eyes diminishes over several weeks. A splint remains in place approximately a week to stabilize the new configuration.
If you have suffered a broken nose and are not pleased with the appearance and/or have breathing problems since the trauma, contact our plastic surgery office in Bellevue. Surgery can have a functional component, covered by insurance, to improve nasal airway breathing, as well as a cosmetic component to enhance cosmetic appearance. A septorhinoplasty can make a world of difference in aesthetic appearance and ease of breathing.