Nose Laceration with Fracture: Skin Glue

You have a cut and broken nose. The cut may bleed. And, your broken nose may cause pain, swelling, and nasal stuffiness. Your nose may bleed or leak a clear fluid. The break may be a minor crack or a major break with the parts pushed out of place. By the next day, you may have bruising around the eyes from a broken nose. 

Your cut was closed with surgical glue. If you have a minor break, it will likely heal with no additional treatment. If the break changes the shape of your nose, you will need to have the nasal bone straightened (reduction). It's often best to wait until swelling has gone down to reduce a fracture. However, certain fractures may need to be straightened sooner. Your healthcare provider will give you more information.

Depending on the cause of the injury and your immunization status, you may get a tetanus shot.

Home care

  • Your healthcare provider may prescribe an antibiotic. This is to help prevent infection. Follow all instructions for taking this medicine. Take the medicine every day until it's gone or you are told to stop. You should not have any left over.

  • The healthcare provider may prescribe medicines for pain. Follow instructions for taking them.

  • Follow the healthcare provider’s instructions on how to care for the cut:

    • Wash your hands with soap and clean, running water (warm or cold) before and after caring for the cut. This helps prevent infection.

    • If a bandage was applied and it becomes wet or dirty, replace it. Otherwise, leave it in place for the first 24 hours, then change it once a day or as directed.

    • Keep the wound clean and dry. You may shower or bathe as usual, but don't use soaps, lotions, or ointments on the wound area. Don't scrub the wound. After bathing, pat the wound dry with a soft towel. Don't soak the wound in water (no swimming).

    • Don't scratch, rub, or pick at the skin glue. Don't place tape directly over the glue. Don't apply liquids (such as peroxide), ointments, or creams to the wound while the glue is in place.

  • Most facial skin wounds heal without problems. However, an infection sometimes occurs despite proper treatment. Therefore, watch for the signs of infection listed below.

  • Apply an ice pack (ice cubes in a plastic bag, wrapped in a thin towel) to help relieve pain and swelling. Place it gently on the nose for 20 minutes every 1 to 2 hours the first day. Continue with ice packs 3 to 4 times a day for the next 2 days, then as needed.

  • Don't drink alcohol or hot liquids for the next 2 days. Alcohol or hot liquids in your mouth can widen (dilate) blood vessels in your nose and cause bleeding.

  • Don't blow your nose for the first 2 days. Then, do so gently so you don't cause bleeding.

  • Don't play contact sports in the next 6 weeks unless you can protect your nose from reinjury. Special custom-fitted plastic facemasks are available for this purpose.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider as advised. The adhesive should fall off on its own in about a week.

If your nose appears crooked or if you can't breathe through both nostrils after the swelling goes down, contact the referral doctor for an appointment to be seen within 7 days of injury.

Note about concussion

Because the injury was to your head, it's possible that you could have a concussion (mild brain injury). Symptoms of concussion can show up later. For this reason, be alert for signs and symptoms of a concussion. Get emergency medical care if any of these occur over the next hours or days:

  • Headache

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Dizziness

  • Sensitivity to light or noise

  • Unusual sleepiness or grogginess

  • Trouble falling asleep

  • Personality changes

  • Vision changes

  • Memory loss

  • Confusion

  • Trouble walking or clumsiness

  • Loss of consciousness (even for a short time)

  • Unable to wake up

  • Leaking of clear fluid from the nose ( a sign of a more serious problem)

When to get medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • The adhesive comes off before 5 days

  • Bleeding from the nose that is not controlled by pinching the nostrils together for 10 minutes

  • Signs of infection, including increasing swelling, pain, or redness around the wound, or pus draining from the wound

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Chills

  • Inability to breathe from both sides of the nose after swelling goes down

  • Sinus pain

Call 911

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath

  • Severe or worsening headache or dizziness

  • Seizure

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