Discharge Advice – Broken Nose

General Info

Nasal bone fractures is also known as a broken nose. It is the result of an impact to the face and nose. The nose will often be swollen, flattened, and can be angulated to one side or the other. It is painful and you may develop a nose bleed along with this condition. You will also likely have trouble breathing through one or both nostrils until the nose is put back into place.

Your nose can be put back into place by your doctor shortly after injury. This will help to improve the look of the nose, improve breathing through the nostrils and reduce bleeding.

While your nose is healing it is vulnerable to being re-broken with relatively little force. This is especially true of the first 2 weeks after injury.

Approximate time frames for resolution of features:

  • Nosebleed – minutes to hours
  • Pain – a day or so
  • Swelling – a week or so
  • Bony weakness of the nose – 1-3 months

In some cases the blood vessels in the nasal septum (the bone that separates your right nostril from your left) can be damaged, leading to a septal haematoma (blood blister on the nasal septum). This can cause damage to your nose and should be seen by a specialist. Your doctor will have checked for this before discharging you. An Xray is usually not needed to diagnose or treat this condition.


  • Avoid anything which may put any force on the nose for at least a week. Which means:
    • Do not sleep on your front
    • Do not sleep with your face pressing into a firm pillow
    • Do not rub your nose
    • Try to avoid blowing your nose forcefully
  • Avoid circumstances where your nose may be re-injured for at least 2 weeks, such as active gameplay and contact sports (aerobic training is OK)
  • Take paracetamol and ibuprofen as advised/prescribed by the doctor

Seek Medical Attention If:

  • Your nose bleeds in a non-controllable way
  • The pain increases over a few days, rather than subsiding
  • You have any signs of a fever or infection
  • You lose your sense of smell


The information or advice contained in this post is created from sources believed to be reliable and accurate to the best of the author’s knowledge, at the time of publication. It is not intended for use outside the specifically stated use, and only by people explicitly directed to follow it by the doctor representing DeployED at an event, who has assessed the person concerned. Consequently, DeployED disclaims any liability arising from the improper or unintended use of this information. This information is provided in good faith.

If your symptoms have not resolved within 48h of the expected timeframe, if they worsen or if new, concerning symptoms develop, seek medical attention promptly.

Follow Dr Stuart McLay:

Emergency Physician

Dr Stuart McLay is passionate about the delivery of exceptional care, everywhere. He is the founder of DeployED, a Fellow of the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine (FACEM - an Emergency Physician), a Core trainee of the College for Intensive Care Medicine, and a Mass Gathering Medicine / Expedition Medicine enthusiast. He's also a husband to 1, and father to 2, and a great annoyance to many.