Nasal trauma is the most common trauma in the human body. The causes are many including sports, fighting, motor vehicle accidents and falls. An injury to the nose that does not cause a fracture is called a contusion. Most contusions heal spontaneously and produce no lasting disfigurement.
Nasal fractures are commonly associated with nasal bleeding, nasal congestion, swelling and bleeding into the skin over the nose and under the eyes. They may be either displaced or non-displaced. Non-displaced fractures usually require no treatment and heal spontaneously. To prevent permanent deformity, displaced fractures require reduction.
To determine if a fracture is displaced or non-displaced an x-ray and examination of the nose are required. X-rays are frequently misleading and that is why it is necessary to examine the nose once the swelling has subsided, usually in about two or three days. On occasion, a CAT scan will be necessary to rule out other facial fractures.
Reduction of a fractured nose in adults can usually be carried out in the office using local anesthesia. Reductions in young children are done under general anesthesia in an outpatient setting. It takes approximately six weeks for a nasal fracture to heal. During that period of time, activity that may cause further nasal trauma should be avoided or some form of nasal protection used.