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What Is a Low Nasal Bridge?

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 23, 2021

A low nasal bridge is when the bridge of your nose is flatter or lower than usual. It can be caused by a genetic condition, an accident, or an infection. It can cause chronic sinus problems.

Other Names for a Low Nasal Bridge

Other names for a low nasal bridge include:

  • Saddle nose
  • Depressed nasal bridge 
  • Concave nasal bridge
  • Flat nasal bridge
  • Low nasal bridge
  • Retruded nasal bridge

What Causes a Low Nasal Bridge?

You may first notice a low nasal bridge in your child when they're young. Some cases of low nasal bridge are normal. But some possible causes include:

  • Cleidocranial dysotosis. This is a genetic condition that causes atypical bone growth and development. Other signs of this disorder include loose joints, short arms and fingers, or increased bone fractures.
  • Syphilis. If you pass a syphilis infection onto your baby when it is born, the infection can affect their bone development. It can also cause an enlarged liver or spleen, fever, irritability, and a rash, as well as other symptoms.
  • Williams Syndrome. This genetic syndrome comes with a set of facial features that includes a broad nose, a large mouth, a round face and round cheeks. People with this condition may also have intellectual disabilities and delayed growth.
  • Down Syndrome. This occurs when you have an extra chromosome. People with down syndrome have a broad, flat nose, almond shaped eyes, and shorter height.
  • Polychondritis. This disease causes inflammation of your cartilage.
  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis. This condition affects your blood vessels and can slow blood flow to organs and parts of your body. This lessening of blood flow can cause granulomas, which are growths caused by inflammation. These often appear in the lungs, sinuses, and throat.
  • An accident. Trauma can change the shape of the nose.
  • Cocaine abuse. Using cocaine can damage your nose.
  • Infection. Some infections like leprosy can cause a low nasal bridge.

Symptoms That May Accompany a Low Nasal Bridge

If you have a low nasal bridge you may experience:

  • Pain in your face
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Pus — a yellowish fluid often linked to an infection — in or around the nose
  • Crusting in or around the nose
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Fever

Your symptoms will depend on the cause of your low nasal bridge. 

Should You Be Concerned About a Low Nasal Bridge?

You may be concerned about a low nasal bridge if it is a new change. You may also have questions if your child has a low nasal bridge. Some cases are part of normal growth and development. The best way to find out if you should be concerned is to ask your doctor.

How Doctors Handle a Low Nasal Bridge

If your doctor thinks a low nasal bridge could be a symptom of a syndrome or condition, they may order tests including:

  • X-rays to view the underlying facial bone structure
  • Blood tests to measure enzyme levels
  • Genetic testing to see if the low nasal bridge is caused by a genetic abnormality

They will likely look at your face, or your child's face, from the side since that's where you can get the best view of a low nasal bridge. 

Treatment for Low Nasal Bridge

The treatment for a low nasal bridge depends on what causes it. Many of the genetic conditions that can lead to a low nasal bridge don't have a cure. But doctors can treat other symptoms as they happen.

Some cases can be treated with cosmetic surgery. If an underlying condition isn't addressed first, cosmetic surgery may not be successful.

If an infection caused your low nasal bridge, your doctor may prescribe a nasal washing regimen or antibiotics.

If it was caused by an immune system issue, your doctor may prescribe immunosuppressants.

Other Nasal Abnormalities

There are other nasal conditions that may be a cause for concern. These include:

  • An aging nose. As you age and your nose gets larger, it can drop forward, causing the sides to collapse. This may create breathing issues.
  • Deviated septum. When the inner wall of the nose goes to one side, leading to breathing issues.
  • Enlarged turbinates. These structures, which are found on the side of the nose and help to clean the air you breathe in, can cause breathing problems when swollen.
  • Enlarged adenoids. Located at the back of the nose, these lymph glands can cause sleep apnea if they are enlarged.
  • Congenital weakness. Some people are born with a structural weakness in the nose.
WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Facts about Down Syndrome."

Ear Nose Throat Journal: "Saddle-nose deformities in the rheumatology clinic."

Harvard Health Publishing; "Polychondritis."

Mayo Clinic: "Granulomatosis with polyangiitis."

MedGen: "Depressed nasal bridge."

Merriam-Webster: "Pus."

Mount Sinai: "Cleidocranial dysostosis," "Congenital syphilis," "Low nasal bridge."

National Organization for rare Disorders: "Williams Syndrome."

Northwestern Medicine: "What Are Nasal Deformities?"

Stanford Medicine: "What’s the diagnosis? Patient presents with chronic sinusitis and this finding…"

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