ZocdocAnswersWhat should I do about my nose swelling?

Question

What should I do about my nose swelling?

I got knocked in the nose while I was playing basketball. Didn't break it or anything, but it did swell up when it happened. Its been two weeks though, and there is still some swelling that won't go away. Should I have it drained or something? What can I do about my swelling and how can I make it go away?

Answer

Sorry to hear that you had some trauma to your nose while playing basketball. I would recommend that you make an appointment with an ENT (Ears Nose Throat) physician, or a facial plastics surgeon to get evaluated. Often times it is difficult to determine if there was nasal fracture immediately (or even a week or so) afterwards due to the significant swelling that can occur. In some situations, it isn't until the swelling goes down a couple weeks after the event that the fracture is obvious. There are some other symptoms (other than a nose that is very deviated) that may clue you into the fact that there may have been a fracture, such as bruising underneath the eyes. Bruising doesn't always mean the underlying bone is fractured, but as I said, it is a clue. Regardless of whether the swelling is due to a nasal fracture, or just soft tissue swelling, there are some simple things that you can do to help decrease the swelling. I recommend icing the area (a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a thin towel works well) for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. Also taking NSAID anti-inflammatories (over the counter) such as ibuprofen (just follow the instructions on the bottle) can make a big difference. Unfortunately these techniques work best when instituted shortly after (the first few days) the injury happened, so you may be behind the eight ball at this point. If the swelling persists, or if you notice any deviation of your nose as the swelling goes down, an ENT or facial plastics surgeon is the best place to start. Best of luck, and I hope this helps.

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