A broken nose is medicinally called a nasal fracture and it is usually a condition involving a crack or a break in the nose bone, most likely the one over the bridge of the nose.
The nose bone usually gets broken in sports, physical fights and vehicle accidents and results in facial trauma. One usually experiences pain and swelled and bruised areas around the nose and under the eyes, and sometimes breathing difficulties occur. Surgery usually is not required but certain procedures for realigning the nose must be followed.
Some symptoms take up to three days to develop fully, but the usual list of symptoms includes pain, especially when touching the nose and the areas that surround it, nosebleeds, difficult breathing, mucus discharge, and the feeling of nasal passages being blocked.
Sometimes a broken nose is connected to some other injuries. If a person feels a severe headache and vomits extensively it may be related to a head or a neck injury. Constant bleeding and clear fluid drainage from the nose and all of the aforementioned symptoms might be related to some additional injury and in that case, a person should ask for immediate medical attention.
When the cartilage and the bones get struck with some kind of force they can crack or fracture. Football and hockey are amongst the most common sports where noses get broken. Physical fights, motor accidents, and various types of falls are among the most common causes of a broken nose for people who do not play such rough sports.
A minor fracture might require simple measures such as using ice on the area. Closed reduction is a way of realigning the broken nose manually without involving the surgical procedure, and it usually takes place no more than two weeks after the fracture.
By means of a nasal speculum, and under local anesthesia, the doctor realigns the broken bones and cartilage and gets them into their original position. Gauze strips moistened with an antibiotic ointment are sometimes required if the procedure triggers persistent bleeding. If the case is so severe that closed reduction cannot be performed, the doctor performs a surgery.
Sometimes it has to be reconstructive surgery, because in some cases the break damages the nasal septum and makes it difficult to breathe. It usually takes one week to recover from the surgery.
If one suspects a broken nose, he or she should breathe through the mouth and lean forward in order to reduce the amount of blood that can drain into the throat. Ice packs should be applied immediately. Over-the-counter pain relievers might come in real handy. The person should keep the head elevated during sleep to avoid any additional swelling.