Condition – Nose Problems
The nose plays a crucial role in every breath taken by both adults and children. An average adult passes 18,000 to 20,000 liters of air through his or her nose each day. The nose not only filters out small particles from the air it takes in, but it also adds moisture to that air to prevent drying the lining of the lungs and warms cold air before it reaches the lungs. As these important functions demonstrate, problems of the nose can significantly impact quality of life as well as general health.

The physicians at CornerStone Ear, Nose & Throat have the training, experience and technology to treat disorders of and injuries to the nose. The following highlights just a few of the conditions associated with the nose that are treated at CornerStone Ear, Nose & Throat.

Nasal Fractures

A broken nose can not only change the way a person looks, but it can make breathing much harder. Nasal fractures usually affect both bone and cartilage. In some cases, a septal hematoma (collection of blood) will form on the nasal septum (a wall made of bone and cartilage inside the nose that separates the sides of the nose). That’s why immediately diagnosing and correcting a broken nose is so important. Failure to recognize and treat a septal hematoma within a few days of the injury can lead to permanent cartilage damage and possibly permanently disfiguring changes to the nose.

Signs Of A Broken Nose

  • Intense pain, often localized to a specific side of the nose
  • Nosebleed
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Swelling inside and outside the nose
  • Dark bruises around the eyes
  • Immediate visible deformity of the nose

If you think your nose is broken, it is critical that you see an otolaryngologist right away. The otolaryngologists at CornerStone Ear, Nose & Throat are doctors who specialize in the medical and surgical management of all conditions of the head and neck area, excluding the eyes (ophthalmology), the brain (neurology and neurosurgery) and the neck spinal column (orthopedic surgery or neurosurgery). If an adult or child with a broken nose is seen within a week of the injury, it may be possible to repair the nose right away. Beyond one week for a child or two weeks for an adult, it may be necessary to wait several months before the nose can be surgically repaired, typically with a much more extensive operation since the bones will have already healed in the wrong position and must be cut and repositioned.

Nosebleeds

Most people will have a nosebleed at some point in their life. Nosebleeds are most common in children between 2 and 10 years old and adults between 50 and 80 years old. While some nosebleeds are sporadic, other factors can cause recurrent nosebleeds, including:

  • Allergies, infections or dryness that cause itching and lead to rubbing or picking of the nose
  • Vigorous nose-blowing
  • Inherited clotting disorders
  • Medications (such as anticoagulants or anti-inflammatories)
  • Fractures of the nose or the base of the skull
  • Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (a blood vessel growth disorder that runs in certain families)
  • Tumors, both benign and malignant

There are two primary types of nosebleeds

Anterior Nosebleeds

These are nosebleeds that originate in the front of the nose and are caused when blood vessels in the septum are damaged due to trauma or, more commonly, environmental factors, some of which are listed above. Specifically, anterior nosebleeds are common in dry climates or when dry, heated indoor air dehydrates the nasal membranes and causes cracking and bleeding such as during the changes of season. Like chapped lips, which occur at similar times, these nosebleeds can often be prevented with regular topical application of Vaseline or moisturizers like saline gel.

How To Stop An Anterior Nosebleed

  • Sit up.
  • Lean slightly forward so the blood won’t drain down the throat.
  • Gently blow any clotted blood out of the nose.
  • Spray a nasal decongestant into the nose.
  • Using the thumb and index finger, pinch all the soft parts of the nose. (Do not pack the inside of the nose with tissue, gauze or cotton.)
  • Hold the position for five minutes.
  • If bleeding continues, repeat the above instructions every five minutes.
  • If bleeding has not stopped after 30 minutes, consider going to an emergency room or urgent care facility.

Posterior Nosebleeds

As opposed to anterior nosebleeds, posterior nosebleeds occur high and deep within the nose and flow down the back of the mouth and throat. These nosebleeds are often more severe and usually require a physician’s care. Posterior nosebleeds are more likely to occur in cases of severe injury to the nose, as well as in the elderly and people on blood thinners and with high blood pressure.

When To Consult An Otolaryngologist (ENT Physician) For A Nosebleed

If you are experiencing frequent nosebleeds, an otolaryngologist at CornerStone Ear, Nose & Throat can provide you with a careful examination to determine the cause of the nosebleeds and suggest a course of treatment. The most common treatment options include counseling on methods to prevent and control nosebleeds; cautery, which involves burning the blood vessels to seal them closed; and temporarily packing the nose to place pressure on the blood vessels while the area heals. Generally, the least invasive approach is used to stop the bleeding and allow healing, and then prevention becomes the focus.

Deviated Septum

The nasal septum is the wall of bone and cartilage that divides the nasal cavity into halves. Ideally, the septum is exactly in the center and separates the left and right passageways of the nose into two equal sides. A septum is considered deviated when it is shifted significantly off center, physically obstructing airflow.

This condition is not usually noticeable when looking at the external appearance of the nose, though it can create a deflection of the lower nose in some cases, often to the opposite side of airway obstruction. More commonly, however, it can create difficulty breathing through the nose, and can result in dryness and bleeding where the air repeatedly hits it. A deviated septum can also be an underlying structural cause of frequent sinus infections. Read more in the article Three Factors That Lead To Chronic Nasal And Sinus Problems And How To Fix Them.

A deviated septum may cause

  • Blockage of one or both nasal breathing passages
  • Nasal congestion
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Frequent sinus infections
  • Facial pain
  • Headaches
  • Noisy breathing during sleep in infants and young children
  • Snoring in adults
  • Visible deformity of the nose

If surgical intervention is needed to correct a deviated septum, the ENT doctors at CornerStone Ear, Nose & Throat may recommend septoplasty. This safe and effective procedure is performed entirely through the nostrils. This surgery can also be performed in conjunction with rhinoplasty, which is cosmetic surgery to change the appearance of the nose, or with sinus surgery to address any sinus problems that may coexist.