Car and truck accidents, as well as falls, can cause a wide range of injuries, some of which can be particularly severe. One area of the body that is often affected in these types of accidents is the nose. Nasal trauma can vary in severity, from minor bruises and cuts to severe fractures and permanent impairment.
The mechanism of nasal injury typically involves a sudden impact to the face, which can occur in a number of ways. For example, in a car or truck accident, the nose can be injured when the face strikes the steering wheel or dashboard, or when the airbag deploys. Similarly, in a fall, the nose can be injured when the face strikes a hard surface, such as the ground or a stair step.
Dog bites to the nose are common, especially in children. Dog bites can cause both cosmetic and functional damage as well as increase the risk of infection. In extreme cases, complete nasal reconstruction may be required.
There are several types of nose injuries that can occur in car and truck accidents and falls. These include:
Nose fractures are one of the most common types of nasal injuries. Depending on the severity of the fracture, surgery may be required to realign the bones.
A common internal result of a nasal bone fracture is a deviated septum. The nasal septum is the cartilage and bone in your nose. The septum divides the nasal cavity (inside your nose) into a right and left side. When the septum is off-center or leans to one side of the nasal cavity, it has “deviated.”The force of the impact can cause the septum to shift from its normal position, leading to a deviated septum. In some cases, a deviated septum may be present before the injury, but the injury can worsen the deviation and cause symptoms to develop. Symptoms of a deviated septum can vary in severity and may include: congestion or stuffiness in one or both nostrils; difficulty breathing through the nose; frequent nosebleeds; recurring sinus infections or colds; headaches; facial pain or pressure; snoring or sleep apnea; and decreased sense of smell.
Rhinoplasty and septoplasty are two different surgical procedures that can be performed after a nose fracture injury, and they are often performed together. While both procedures can improve the function and appearance of the nose, they serve different purposes.
Rhinoplasty is a cosmetic procedure that is designed to reshape the nose’s external appearance. This procedure can be used to correct deformities resulting from a nose injury, such as a crooked or misshapen nose. Rhinoplasty can also be used to address breathing problems caused by structural issues in the nose, such as a deviated septum.
Septoplasty, on the other hand, is a functional procedure that is designed to correct issues with the internal structure of the nose. This procedure is typically performed to correct a deviated septum, which can cause breathing difficulties and other issues. During a septoplasty, the surgeon will reposition or remove parts of the septum to improve airflow through the nose.
While rhinoplasty and septoplasty are different procedures, they are often performed in combination to address both functional and aesthetic concerns resulting from a nose injury. This is called a septorhinoplasty. During a septorhinoplasty, the surgeon will address any structural issues with the septum while also reshaping the external appearance of the nose.
- Olfactory nerve injuries:
Olfactory injuries are those that affect the sense of smell. They can occur when the delicate tissues inside the nose are damaged due to a sudden impact. In some cases, olfactory injuries can be permanent.
The olfactory nerve is responsible for the sense of smell, and injuries to this nerve can occur in car and truck accidents and falls. The nerve fibers that make up the olfactory nerve are fragile and can be easily damaged by a sudden impact to the head or face. Injuries to the olfactory nerve can result in a partial or complete loss of the sense of smell, which can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life.
Symptoms of olfactory nerve injuries may include: loss of sense of smell; reduced ability to taste; changes in the perception of flavor; difficulty identifying odors; phantom smells (i.e., smelling odors that are not present).
The severity of olfactory nerve injuries can vary, depending on the extent of the damage. In some cases, the nerve fibers may be partially damaged, resulting in a temporary loss of smell. In other cases, the nerve fibers may be completely severed, resulting in a permanent loss of smell.
Treatment for olfactory nerve injuries may depend on the extent of the damage and the severity of symptoms. In mild cases, the sense of smell may return on its own over time. In more severe cases, treatment may include medications or surgery to repair or regenerate the damaged nerve fibers.
Unfortunately, in many cases, olfactory nerve injuries are permanent and may result in a permanent loss of the sense of smell. This can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, as the sense of smell plays an important role in many daily activities, such as cooking, eating, and socializing.
3. Soft tissue injuries: Soft tissue injuries to the nose can include bruises, cuts, and abrasions. These types of injuries can be painful and can result in scarring. Plastic surgery including rhinoplasty may be required to repair cosmetic and functional nose injuries.
If you or a loved one have suffered a serious nose injury, submit our inquiry form or call us at 404-253-7862.
Johnson & Ward has been a leading personal injury and wrongful death specialty law firm in Atlanta since 1949. The founders of the firm were also among the founders of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association. Current partners include former presidents of the State Bar of Georgia and the Atlanta Bar Association.
Ken Shigley, senior counsel at Johnson & Ward, is a former president of the State Bar of Georgia (2011-12). He was the first Georgia lawyer to earn three board certifications from the National Board of Trial Advocacy (Civil Trial Advocacy, Civil Pretrial Advocacy, and Truck Accident Law). In 2019, he received the Traditions of Excellence Award for lifetime achievement. Mr. Shigley was the lead author of eleven editions of Georgia Law of Torts: Trial Preparation and Practice (Thomson Reuters, 2010-21). He graduated from Furman University and Emory University Law School, and completed certification courses in trial practice, negotiation and mediation at Harvard Law School.