Closed Reduction of a Nasal Fracture: In Office or Outpatient?

David Cuthbertson, MD

A teenager has a bandage taped over top of her nasal fracture because she just had a closed reduction procedure done.

If you have a broken nose (also called a nasal fracture), you probably want it fixed quickly. An injury like this can make breathing difficult, keep you from going about your normal routine, and even affect your appearance in the long term, especially if it sets in a fractured position before an ENT has the chance to repair it.

In cases of simple displacement, we repair the nose by performing a closed reduction of the nasal fracture. Below, we’ll look at this procedure in more detail to help you know what options you have and what to expect.

What Is a Closed Reduction of a Nasal Fracture?

A closed reduction of a nasal fracture is a medical procedure for repairing a broken nose. It’s called a “closed reduction” because it doesn’t require any incisions. Instead, an ENT works inside the nose to carefully move the displaced nasal bone back into its normal position.

Although a closed reduction of a nasal fracture is relatively simple, doctors have traditionally performed it under general anesthesia. However, in many cases, you can also undergo the procedure safely and comfortably in the office with mild sedation and topical anesthesia.

At ENT Associates of Lubbock, we prefer to do the latter when possible. We’ve found that the in-office procedure is just as tolerable for patients but also comes with some distinct advantages:

  • No general anesthesia. This makes the procedure even safer and less time-consuming.
  • Scheduling is simple. You can sometimes be treated on the same day.
  • Lower cost. In-office procedures are dramatically less expensive.

Of course, some cases don’t lend themselves to an in-office procedure. For example, we may recommend outpatient surgery with general anesthesia if:

  • Your fracture is an older injury
  • Your septum is also deviated
  • You have a septal hematoma (blood clot)
  • You have other ongoing medical issues
  • You’re under 15 years old
Infographic: Closed Reduction of a Nasal Fracture: In Office or Outpatient?

How Soon Should You Have a Closed Reduction of a Nasal Fracture?

Typically, we prefer seeing patients about four to seven days after their initial injury. This allows some time for the swelling to go down so we can more accurately assess the injury and determine how severe the fracture is.

We can sometimes complete the in-office procedure on the same day. If not, we’ll ask you to return seven to 10 days after the date of injury. Otherwise, the bone could begin to set in its abnormal position, creating further problems.

The in-office procedure makes keeping this timeline easy since you won’t have to schedule with an outpatient surgery center. But whether you end up having the in-office or outpatient procedure, our goal is always the same: to give your nose the best chance of healing properly and returning to normal.

In-Office vs. Outpatient Surgery: What to Expect

Whether you move forward with an in-office or outpatient closed reduction of a nasal fracture, the procedure is the same.

Afterward, you’ll wear a small splint and cast on your nose for about four days until we see you for your follow-up visit.

We may prescribe pain medication to help keep you comfortable while you recover, and your nasal breathing should improve within three to four days after surgery.

Although you can return to normal activities shortly after the procedure, you should continue protecting your nose during sports or other physical activity for several weeks.

Unfortunately, even after a successful closed reduction of a nasal fracture, there’s still the possibility that your nose will look slightly different than it did before. Just like with any other broken bone, the best course of action is to set the fracture in a timely manner to give it the best chance of looking as close to normal as possible.

However, if your nose heals with an altered appearance, an additional procedure called a rhinoplasty may help. A rhinoplasty is a more involved cosmetic surgery that corrects nasal defects to improve the outward appearance of your nose.

Closed Reduction of a Nasal Fracture: Final Thoughts

A broken nose is a severe injury that can affect your quality of life and confidence, so we know how important it is to get the proper treatment quickly.

If you have any other questions about a closed reduction of a nasal fracture, please let us know! We’re here to help.


Disclaimer: The content on this website is written and/or reviewed by a qualified medical doctor and great care is taken to provide accurate general information. However, it is for informational purposes only and is not to be taken as a substitute for medical advice from your own physician who is familiar with the details of your medical history. Always consult your doctor regarding health concerns before deciding any course of medical action.