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Broken Nose

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Medications

Try acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for pain, taking care to follow the instructions on the bottle. Do not exceed the dose stated on the package instructions.

For more serious injuries, stronger pain medication may be prescribed.

Call a doctor or pharmacist if any questions or concerns arise regarding any medication.

Surgery

Surgery may be needed for multiple breaks in the nose, persistent deformity, or damage to the inner portions of the nose.

  • Some simple surgeries can be performed in the doctor's office.
    • The doctor pushes the broken bones back into place.
    • Special instruments and pain medicine (anesthesia) may be used.
    • Anesthesia may be injected into the nose or placed in the nostrils.
  • Other surgeries are performed in the operating room.
    • These surgeries tend to be more complex and involve realigning the nasal bones and surrounding tissue.
    • Intravenous (IV) anesthesia is often used.
  • Simple breaks that are not out of place do not usually require surgery.
  • A doctor will advise the best treatment plan.

Other Therapy

If a nose might be broken, avoid resting anything on the nose, including glasses and sunglasses.

Do not attempt to straighten the nose.

Next Steps Follow-up

About 3-5 days after the swelling in the nose has gone away, a person may be referred to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMFS), or a plastic surgeon.

Follow-up care should not be delayed. A delay, especially longer than 7-10 days, may cause a broken bone to be set in a deformed state.

Prevention

Avoid drug and alcohol use. Many nose breaks occur during or after abuse of these drugs.

  • Follow safety rules when participating in sports and physical recreation.
  • Wear a seatbelt at all times while riding in a motor vehicle.

Outlook

If a nasal injury is minor, further care may not be needed. Many will need a follow-up visit in about 3 days after the swelling has resolved. If a severe break has occurred, corrective surgery may be required.

For More Information

American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
9700 West Bryn Mawr Ave
Rosemont, IL 60018-5701
(800) 822-6637

American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
One Prince St
Alexandria, VA 22314-3357
(703) 836-4444

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