Exams and Tests
The exam and the types of tests that are used depend on the type of injury you have.
Even if you have an injury to your nose, it is rare that X-rays will be needed to guide the treatment. A nasal fracture is usually diagnosed by physical exam. The initial care for a nasal injury does not change even if you have a fracture.
If a fracture of the bones high up inside the nose (ethmoid bones) is suspected, the doctor may order a CT scan.
Jaw (mandibular) fracture
If you have a possible jaw fracture, your doctor may order an X-ray. Sometimes a special dental X-ray machine may be used to help in the diagnosis. Not all hospitals have this equipment.
Midface (maxillary) fracture
Because they are most often caused in car accidents, fractures of your midface are often associated with other significant, potentially life-threatening injuries. So diagnosing a facial fracture is often not the most important part of your early treatment.
After you are stabilized, a CT scan of the face is the most useful imaging test for checking for a midface fracture.
Cheekbone (zygomatic) fracture
If you are evaluated right away, the doctor can usually diagnose a cheekbone fracture by physical exam. This becomes more difficult with time because of swelling.
Special X-ray views of the zygomatic bone are often helpful. If you have a severe fracture involving other bones of the face, your doctor may also order a CT scan to get more information.
Eye socket (orbital) fracture
X-rays may be helpful in the initial diagnosis of a fractured eye socket.
If a fracture of your eye socket is shown on your x-ray, you will probably have a CT scan so the doctor can get more information.
Temporomandibular joint dislocation
If the dislocation is the result of trauma, an X-ray will be done to rule out a fracture of the jaw. You will not need an X-ray if you have a spontaneous or recurrent dislocation.
Facial Fracture Treatment - Self-Care at Home
Home care is limited until a doctor sees you. While waiting to see the doctor, use an ice pack on the area to help with pain and swelling, and apply direct pressure to bleeding areas.
Treatment depends on the type of injury you have.
First, the doctor will control your nosebleed (if you have one). If there is a collection of blood inside your nose, called a septal hematoma, the doctor will drain it by cutting a hole in it to let the blood out.
Because your nose will be very swollen at first, a broken nose is not immediately put back into place. Even after the swelling goes down, putting a broken nose back in place is necessary only if you will have a poor cosmetic result or your airflow is obstructed. If it is necessary, a specialist will do it at a follow-up appointment. By this time, the swelling should have gone down, and specialist will be able to put the bone in place more accurately.