18 doctors weighed in:

I think I broke my nose 3 days ago - I was told by a doctor that an X-ray wouldn't reveal a fracture. Do I have to just wait till swelling subsides?

18 doctors weighed in
Dr. David Sherris
Facial Plastic Surgery
5 doctors agree

In brief: X-ray

Xray documenting a fracture will help to get insurance to cover definitive repair if it needs to be done down the line.
If it's significantly bent then closed reduction must be done within a week of injury. See an ENT doctor.

In brief: X-ray

Xray documenting a fracture will help to get insurance to cover definitive repair if it needs to be done down the line.
If it's significantly bent then closed reduction must be done within a week of injury. See an ENT doctor.
Dr. David Sherris
Dr. David Sherris
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Dr. Robert Knox
ENT - Head & Neck Surgery
4 doctors agree

In brief: Broken Nose

An x-ray of the nasal bones will usually show if a fracture has occurred, but obtaining an x-ray may not change your treatment.
Swelling increases for one - three days after a fracture or contusion. Make an appointment to see an ENT or your primary care provider. There are two main reasons to treat a broken nose: i can't breathe and i don't like the way it looks.

In brief: Broken Nose

An x-ray of the nasal bones will usually show if a fracture has occurred, but obtaining an x-ray may not change your treatment.
Swelling increases for one - three days after a fracture or contusion. Make an appointment to see an ENT or your primary care provider. There are two main reasons to treat a broken nose: i can't breathe and i don't like the way it looks.
Dr. Robert Knox
Dr. Robert Knox
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Dr. Barry Press
Surgery - Plastics
4 doctors agree

In brief: Yes...

Nasal fractures can be displaced or non-displaced.
If the latter, the appearance of the nose will not be changed when the swelling subsides. If displaced, reduction of the fracture will be needed but cannot be done until the swelling decreases (usually 3-4 days.) xrays will show a fracture but will not determine whether treatment is needed; this can only be determined by examination.

In brief: Yes...

Nasal fractures can be displaced or non-displaced.
If the latter, the appearance of the nose will not be changed when the swelling subsides. If displaced, reduction of the fracture will be needed but cannot be done until the swelling decreases (usually 3-4 days.) xrays will show a fracture but will not determine whether treatment is needed; this can only be determined by examination.
Dr. Barry Press
Dr. Barry Press
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Dr. J David Holcomb
Facial Plastic Surgery
3 doctors agree

In brief: Best approach

Unless the nose has obviously changed in appearance the doctor is correct that a fracture may not show up on an x-ray.
Nasal fractures are displaced (bones have shifted away from each other at fracture) or non-displaced. If the fracture is non- or only slightly displaced then surgery is not necessary. Re-examination after the swelling goes away will allow better evaluation treatment planning.

In brief: Best approach

Unless the nose has obviously changed in appearance the doctor is correct that a fracture may not show up on an x-ray.
Nasal fractures are displaced (bones have shifted away from each other at fracture) or non-displaced. If the fracture is non- or only slightly displaced then surgery is not necessary. Re-examination after the swelling goes away will allow better evaluation treatment planning.
Dr. J David Holcomb
Dr. J David Holcomb
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Dr. Jeremy White
Surgery - Plastics
1 doctor agrees

In brief: See ENT

Physical exam is often the best way to tell if there is a fracture.
Once the swelling goes down over a few days after the injury, you will have to decide with your surgeon whether or not you notice a cosmetic deformity that needs correction.

In brief: See ENT

Physical exam is often the best way to tell if there is a fracture.
Once the swelling goes down over a few days after the injury, you will have to decide with your surgeon whether or not you notice a cosmetic deformity that needs correction.
Dr. Jeremy White
Dr. Jeremy White
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Dr. Todd Sisto
Breast Surgery

In brief: Disagree

I suspect a communication error: the swelling is usu allowed to abate before surgery, but x-ray, especially high resolution ct will show fracture immediately.

In brief: Disagree

I suspect a communication error: the swelling is usu allowed to abate before surgery, but x-ray, especially high resolution ct will show fracture immediately.
Dr. Todd Sisto
Dr. Todd Sisto
Thank
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