What is a crooked nose?
The crooked nose is a general term used to describe the nose that appears well, uneven and crooked. While some people are born with this (inherited trait from their parents), others may have acquired it from trauma at a various time throughout their lives.
How do I know if I broke my nose?
Common signs associated with a broken nose include pain, nose bleed, and sometimes bruising around the nose and eyes. If a bone is broken and shifted, you may feel the bump or step-off on the nose. However, within hours, swelling from the soft tissue of your nose will make it hard to determine just from feeling your nose.
While an x-ray or CT scan is not necessary to confirm the diagnosis of a broken nose, many emergency rooms may perform these tests to confirm that the fracture does not involve other critical structures beyond the nose.
What can be done to correct the broken nose and/or the crooked nose?
Treatment planning for the broken or crooked nose depends on the timing of the trauma, extent of the injury, and the goal of the patient.
Within hours after the trauma, the nose will begin to swell. By the time the patient presents to the clinic a few days later, the nose may be still very swollen. Treatment options at this stage include either conservative observation to see how the patient does without any intervention, or scheduling for a procedure to “reset the broken nose”, also called closed reduction, before the bone heals completely. Closed reduction should be performed within a month of the initial injury, and it is suitable for a more straightforward fracture.
If the patient presents with a more complex broken nose, including a multiple fragmented fracture, severe crooked appearance, or septal fracture, then a formal nasal repair, also called open reduction, should be considered. Unlike the closed reduction where correction of the broken nose is performed through physical force without any incision to the nose, open reduction implies that incision is created to make a controlled cut on the bone (osteotomy) or realigning the affected cartilage of the nose (functional septorhinoplasty) to restore both the function and appearance back to original condition before the injury.
How long does it take to recover from a crooked nose or broken nose repair procedure?
This depends on the extent of the procedure. If the patient’s problem can be adequately addressed via the endonasal approach (“closed”) nasal valve repair procedure, patients will often return to work in a few days. Most patients do not require any nasal packing, and should be able to breathe through their nose after a few days. Sutures are placed inside the nose and will dissolve on their own.
If the patient required more extensive functional septorhinoplasty, the patient will have a small incision under the nose and possibly a splint outside the nose. The small suture under the nose, and the splint outside the nose will be removed at day 7 after the surgery. The patient may resume desk activities a few days after the surgery, but outdoor activity or exertion should be avoided for about 10 days. Aerobic exercises may be resumed after 2 weeks with intensity increased gradually thereafter.
Will my insurance cover the surgery?
If you broke your nose many years ago and are now bothered by the appearance of the crooked nose only, your insurance will likely not agree to cover the surgery. However, if you are noticing trouble breathing through your nose, this will be covered by your insurance as a functional rhinoplasty or nasal valve repair surgery. While the main goal is to improve the function of your nose, the crooked appearance of your nose should also improve.
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