Nasal Trauma is a common condition that occurs for many reasons. The outer nose has a genius design that enables it to sustain most trauma:
- The nose projects forward from the plane of the face to protect the more delicate structures of the eyes, mouth and brain.
- The softer nasal tip is composed of malleable cartilage and thicker skin to help absorb blunt trauma – it can act in an accordion like effect to disperse the energy from a traumatic event.
- The upper part of the nose is composed of harder bone – in fact, the bone along the edges of the upper nose that converge with the cheek bones are some of the hardest bones in the human body. The upper nose acts like a “prow” that can again deflect and disperse traumatic forces to the other bones that act as buttresses in the face and skull.
Unfortunately, traumatic forces can be strong enough or hit the wrong spot to cause bruising or fractures of the nose and surrounding structures.
In general, the earlier these injuries are evaluated or treated the better as swelling can distort the anatomy of the nose and make any repair procedure more difficult to do. Treatment can vary from simple in office reductions to complex reconstructive surgeries involving cartilage and skin grafting in the operating room.
Nasal injuries are often treated after the initial healing as occurred. This allows for a more accurate physical exam and assessment of the injuries. CT scans and sometime MRIs can help further determine the extent of injury and course of treatment for a patient.
Patients often ask if insurance covers these types of nose injuries. The short answer is that it depends – has the injury caused trouble breathing or sinus problems versus just a change in appearance? When and how was the initial injury treated? These questions can be addressed with your treating physician to help arrive at the correct answers.
With increased participation in mixed martial arts, kick boxing, soccer, basketball and biking the incidence of nasal trauma requiring treatment is increasing over time. The best advice is always prevention – wear a helmet or face protection and be safe as possible when participating in these activities.