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Not all broken noses require surgery

"Not all broken noses will require surgery. If the fracture is straight and minor and there is no deviation of the nose, surgery is not required and the bones will heal in-situ. Painkillers and antibiotics may be all that is required," says Dr Terence Goh, Consultant, Department of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group.

However, if it is a true nasal fracture, it does take two weeks for the bone to become stable and about six weeks to heal completely. During this period of time, it will be advisable to avoid wearing glasses and engaging in contact sports.

Sometimes the swelling from the injury can mask the underlying deviation of the nose or underlying septal injury. You should wait a few days (three to four days) for the swelling to subside so that you can assess more accurately if the crookedness is an illusion.

Difficulty breathing after a broken nose: what to do within 14 days

Besides the nasal bones, the septum (comprising of bone and cartilage) inside the nose, also needs to be considered. In instances where the septum is deviated or there is difficulty breathing, septorhinoplasty may be required.

For my patients who present with a nasal fracture that is displaced, I usually recommend a closed reduction (resetting of the nasal bones and septum, without any other intervention) within the first 14 days from injury. This is especially so if the deviation is troubling to the patient or if breathing is obstructed.

Occasionally a septorhinoplasty may be indicated. If there is persistent deviation of the nose, a formal rhinoplasty is usually performed nine to twelve months after the injury.

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Ref: N18