How is a broken nose treated?

A broken nose can be treated in several different ways depending on the location and severity of the break. Pain relievers are a part of almost all treatment plans, as pain occurs with almost all broken noses. Icing your broken nose and the surrounding area is also an important part of immediate treatment.

If the shape of your nose has been affected, surgery may be required to correct this. In severe nose fractures that result in a blood clot or that leave an opening into the space within your skull, immediate surgery may be required.

Treatment for a broken nose

Treatment for a broken nose includes relieving the pain using pain relievers and reducing the swelling of or around your nose using cold compresses. Surgery may be required to realign the nose or to fix damage to important structures deeper in the nose. Treatments include:

  • Pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) are often prescribed for reducing the pain associated with a broken nose
  • If you have a more seriously broken nose and have severely damaged areas inside your nose, like the nasal septum or cribiform plate, you may need more immediate surgery
  • If your nose has been misaligned, your physician may recommend surgery to correct this, though often you must wait a week to 10 days for swelling to resolve before the nose can be repaired
  • You may be asked to apply cold compresses on a regular basis to decrease the swelling that is associated with a broken nose

What you can do to improve your broken nose

If you suspect a broken nose but do not have serious symptoms, you can perform a variety of treatments until you can contact your health care provider. Such first-aid treatments include:

  • Icing the nose or the immediately affected area to reduce swelling, though it is important not to apply too much pressure to a broken nose
  • Sitting up rather than lying down may help to reduce or stop the bleeding
  • Taking over-the-counter pain medication, like acetaminophen (Tylenol), can be effective at reducing the pain associated with a broken nose

What are the potential complications of a broken nose?

Though a broken nose is a common injury, it can be associated with a variety of complications that range from very mild to more severe.

You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of broken nose include:

  • Change in the shape of your nose
  • Damage to other nearby structures, such as your eyes
  • Decrease in or impairment of your sense of smell
  • Deviated septum
  • Formation of a blood clot, which may lead to tissue damage
  • Infections of tissue near your nose


  1. Broken bone. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
  2. Nose fracture. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
  3. Mondin V, Rinaldo A, Ferlito A. Management of nasal bone fractures. Am J Otolaryngol 2005; 26:181.

What is a broken nose?

A broken nose is a fracture in the bone or cartilage of any part of the nose. A broken nose is usually the result of some type of trauma or blow to the face. A broken nose sometimes occurs together with other injuries to the face or neck. For this reason, individuals who sustain a broken nose need to be careful evaluation by a qualified health professional.... Read more about broken noseintroduction


What are the symptoms of a broken nose?

Symptoms of a broken nose include a bloody nose, pain in your nose, bruising in and around the nose, a crooked shape to your nose, and the swelling of your nose and the area around your nose.

More serious symptoms of a severe break can include leakage of cerebrospinal fluid if the fracture is extended into the ethmoid bone of the face. If the cartilage in the septum of the nose is d... Read more about broken nosesymptoms


What causes a broken nose?

A broken nose is almost always caused by some sort of impact to the face. Although your nose is flexible, a strong enough impact can tear the cartilage in your nose or fracture the bones in or around your nose. A football or basketball that hits you in the face with enough force can very easily break your nose. A broken nose can also result from a car accident or any other situation in which so... Read more about broken nosecauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles

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