Two Shoulders, an Ankle and a Nose (Part 3)

Sunday night was Tony Awards night, and as part of the elaborate festivities, rock and reality star Bret Michaels hit the stage with his band Poison and the cast of Broadway’s Rock of Ages. After the performance, Michaels was knocked to the ground after being hit by a piece of scenery, fracturing his nose. The singer also had a split lip which required three stitches. Fortunately, his sense of humor remained intact. Michael’s representative, Joann Mignano, says “He told me, ‘All I remember is Shrek and the donkey helping me up, and Liza [Minnelli] giving me a towel,'” “And Bret was laughing when he heard [Tony host] Neil Patrick Harris said he gave new meaning to ‘headbanging.’ ”

A nasal fracture, commonly referred to as a broken nose, is a fracture of the bone or cartilage of the nose caused by trauma to the face. Nasal fractures are the most common fracture of the face, most likely due to the protrusion of the nose and the delicate structures that make up the nose. The nose is supported by cartilage (in the front) and bone (on the back and bridge).

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Symptoms of a broken nose include pain, blood coming from the nose, bruising around the eyes, misshapen appearance, swelling, and difficulty breathing through the nose. Treatment depends on the severity of the injury: If there is little deformity, applying ice packs and oral pain medications may be all that is necessary. If there is a deformity of the nose, a physician may try a closed reduction– a nonsurgical procedure to realign the nose using instruments introduced in through the nose. This must be done within 10 days of an injury. If the deformity is severe, or if the injury is older, surgical treatment, called a rhinoplasty, is necessary.

A nose fracture may cause a deviated septum, a condition that occurs when the thin wall dividing the two sides of your nose (nasal septum) is displaced to one side, narrowing your nasal passage on one side. Medications, such as decongestants and antihistamines, can help you manage a deviated septum, though surgery is required to correct the condition.

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Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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