Does My Child Have a Broken Nose…And Is It Too Early To Fix It?

Most people have, at one point in their life, been on the receiving end of a blow to the face. Sometimes, it could be due to a fall. Other times, it could be from a football or elbow to the nose. Regardless, most of the time we run to the mirror, wipe away a bloody nose and hope that everything looks okay-or at least looks straight.

It’s hard to believe, but a moderate impact could have caused a lot more damage to a nose than you’d think. Hollywood makes it easy to assume that a nose can only be broken if you hear a loud “crunch” and see a clearly busted-up, crooked nose.  The truth is, you can still have a broken nose without having it appear crooked. This is primarily because the cartilage and bone that divides the left and right sides of your nose, known as the septum, could be what took most of the damage.

We got an X-ray and they said his nose wasn’t broken, could they be wrong?
The nasal bones are the hard bones at the bridge of the nose. Whereas, the squishy tip of the nose (the part you can move around) is made of cartilage and cannot be seen on X-ray.  Studies have shown that X-rays are not helpful in the diagnosis or management of nasal fractures because of their high rate of both false-positive and false-negative results. The few images X-rays provide do not convey the entire clinical picture and can easily miss acute fractures or confuse them with old ones.

How can the septum break without misshaping the nose?

Many different cartilage and bony structures are involved in keeping the shape of your nose. Depending on where you get hit, what broke may not actually be part of what makes your nose look the way it does on the outside. If you were hit on the bridge of your nose, your septum or the side wall cartilages could be broken without your nose appearing crooked. Over time, breathing may feel more restricted, sleeping may feel less restful and if the damage was deeper sinus infections may result.

Why is it important to fix a broken nose?

Having a broken nose or deviated septum can make life harder – especially when it comes to breathing and sleep quality. If you believe you have a deviated septum or have experienced a broken nose, there is some good news. No matter how bad the damage is, there are options out there that can allow you to reverse the damage and breathe easily.

My child broke her nose, is it best to wait until she is older to fix it?

The traditional practice to avoid nasal surgery in children until after puberty, is no longer advocated by nasal reconstructive specialists. The role of the septum in growth and development of the face is well known, but early correction may have several more far-reaching benefits.

Children with prolonged nasal obstruction suffer from breathing difficulties, poor quality of sleep and difficulty with focus and attention. Over time, obligate breathing through the mouth from failure to treat the blockage may itself lead to the development of facial and dental abnormalities.  Evaluation by a rhinoplasty specialist with experience in treating children and young adult nasal airways is critical to getting your child the proper care he or she may need. At the office of Dr. Monica Tadros, we specialize in rhinoplasty and deviated septum surgery for patients of all ages.  To schedule a consultation call: NYC: (212) 532-4590 or NJ: (201) 408-5430 or click here.