Breaking your nose can be painful and traumatic. And, frankly, it’s not all that uncommon. You may have even broken your nose without even knowing it. But sometimes it’s unmistakable. And if you just broke your nose, you might be wondering what you should do. The most important thing is this: If you’ve broken your nose, you must see a medical professional as soon as possible.
You Just Broke Your Nose. Now What?
Now, how quickly you need to see that medical professional might depend on the severity of the break. But the rule of thumb is this: if you broke your nose, you should go to the emergency room. Getting that immediate care is going to be your most important concern at that moment.
It’s true that a breakage of the nose is often easier to achieve than breaking bones in the rest of the body. That’s because the nose is primarily composed of cartilage, a strong but flexible type of tissue. (Your ears are composed of the same material, and it’s why you can wiggle both with some success). But that doesn’t mean a broken nose is not a serious concern—and there are all kinds of complications that could arise if this type of injury is not treated immediately. So, if you’re thinking, I just broke my nose, what should I do? The answer usually involves the emergency room.
That said, you should always consult with your physician before making any medical decisions.
Long Term Consequences of a Broken Nose
When bones in your arms or legs are broken, a doctor will set those bones in order to make sure they heal back into the proper shape. That’s because bones tend to fuse together in whatever position they happen to be in (if the process is not assisted by a medical professional). Because it’s composed of cartilage and not bones, that mending procedure is sometimes complicated with the nose.
If your nose breakage is bad enough, doctors may attempt to set the cartilage just as they would with bones. But this doesn’t always happen right away. Sometimes the swelling around the nose can make it difficult to determine just where everything should be set. In other words, treating a broken nose can be complicated. (Although, again—and I can’t stress this enough–if you broke your nose, you need to see a doctor.)
Even when a nose is properly treated, patients can sometimes be left with permanent signs of that trauma. The nose could slant to the left or right; or the nose could be swollen in a way that it wasn’t before. In other words, a broken nose, even when treated properly, can permanently alter the way your nose looks.
Plastic Surgery for a Broken Nose
If you just broke your nose and you want to know what to do, at some point, you’re probably going to have to think about plastic surgery. The procedure in question here, rhinoplasty is designed to alter the size, shape, and orientation of the nose. When performed surgically, there are very few limits to what a rhinoplasty can do.
Most patients use rhinoplasty surgery to return their nose to its original shape and size. Some patients will see this as an opportunity to improve on the original, either aesthetically or functionally. It’s all up to the patient and to the plastic surgeon. In general, a surgical rhinoplasty is going to involve:
- An incision along the base of the nose (that little bit of skin between your nostrils is where the incision is typically made)
- The repair, reshaping, or replacement of the cartilage in the nose (depending on the patient desires)
- A significant recovery period, after which you’ll be able to enjoy the results of your transformed nose.
A Non Surgical Option
Surgery isn’t going to be the best option for everyone. If your broken nose caused only subtle changes—small things you want to correct—then a non surgical approach might be more appropriate. During a non surgical rhinoplasty procedure, a dermal filler is injected into the nose in order to improve the overall shape and appearance of the nose. This creates subtle but important transformations that, while temporary, do not require any surgery or downtime.
A Common Problem
Broken noses are particularly prominent among athletes, but not exclusively so. Maybe it’s because of the way they stick out in front of us as we move through life, but broken noses tend to be quite common. As such, repairing those broken noses is equally common—and rhinoplasty surgery is often employed as a way to give patients closure and satisfaction.
In other words, if you have that moment where you think: I just broke my nose, what do I do? You aren’t alone. Plenty of others have had that exact same thought. For your first step, you should get that nose treated as soon as possible.