• Nose Fracture

    (Broken Nose)


    A nose fracture is a break in the bones of the nose.
    Facial Bones
    Nucleus factsheet image
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


    A nose fracture is caused by a blunt, hard blow to the nose. It often occurs along with injuries to other parts of the nose and face.

    Risk Factors

    Factors that may increase the chance of a nose fracture include:
      Any condition that causes frequent falls, such as:
    • Previous nose fracture or nose injury
    • Participating in sports, especially contact sports
    • Reckless behavior during recreational activities or driving
    • Failure to wear a seat belt —keep in mind that airbags can also sometimes cause injury


    A nose fracture may cause:
    • Pain in the bridge of the nose
    • Inflammation of the nose or surrounding area of the face
    • Bleeding from the nose (often heavy)
    • Difficulty breathing through the nose or nostril
    • Discoloration of the nose
    • Black eyes


    You will be asked about your symptoms and how the injury occurred. Your nose and face will be examined for:
    • Irregularities in the shape
    • Movement of the bones of the nose and face
    • Rough sensation when the nose is moved
    • Pain or tenderness to touch at the nasal bridge
    • Injury to the nasal septum (especially hematoma)
    • Any fluid from the nose, such as blood or cerebrospinal fluid (in severe cases)
    Although not necessary, imaging tests may be done to confirm the fracture, and check its location and severity. They usually are not done until the inflammation goes down. Imaging tests may include:


    Treatment depends on the severity of the fracture. If the nose is broken and in position, the only treatment needed is home care. It is important to be careful to not bump the nose while it heals. More severe fractures may need realignment or surgery.


    Ice can be used to help reduce inflammation and pain.


    Prescription or over-the-counter medications may be given to help reduce inflammation and pain.

    Realigning the Bones

    If the nose is out of position, obstructing your breathing, or causing other problems, then the doctor may:
    • Drain any blood that may have collected in or around the septum
    • Set the fracture by:
      • Moving the bone back to its normal position after the inflammation has gone down
      • Stabilizing the bone with gauze packing on the inside and a splint or tape on the outside


    Surgery may be needed to set the fracture if:
    • The fracture is severe and will not heal without surgery
    • The nose is severely misshapen
    • The fracture impairs breathing


    Nose fractures may not always be preventable, but you can reduce your risk:
    • Wear protective headgear with face masks when playing contact sports, or when riding a bicycle or motorcycle.
    • Wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a car.
    • Avoid situations that may involve a fight.


    American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery http://cosmeticsurgery.org

    Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians https://familydoctor.org


    The Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons http://www.plasticsurgery.ca

    The College of Family Physicians of Canada http://www.cfpc.ca


    Fractures of the nose. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries-poisoning/facial-trauma/fractures-of-the-nose. Updated September 2016. Accessed August 30, 2017.

    Isolated nasal bone fracture—emergency management. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T910337/Isolated-nasal-bone-fracture-emergency-management. Updated August 30, 2017.

    Nasal fractures. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org/content/nasal-fractures. Accessed August 30, 2017.

    Ondik MP, Lipinski L, Dezfoli S, Fedok FG. The treatment of nasal fractures: a changing paradigm. Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2009;11(5):296-302.

    Rother T, Riechelmann H, Gronau S. Secondarily accelerated foreign bodies as a source of danger from airbag deployment. HNO. 2006;54(12):967-970.

    Revision Information

  • LiveWell personal health survey

    How healthy are you really? Find out – free.Learn more

    It's time to stop guessing. If you want to make some changes but just aren't sure how, the free personal health survey from LiveWell is a great place to start.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease and prevent heart attacks. HeartSHAPE® is a painless, non-invasive test that checks pictures of your heart for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.

  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.