Objectives: To find if the presence of epistaxis after nasal trauma can be used to predict post-traumatic external nasal deformity or a symptomatic deviated nasal septum.
Methods: Retrospective analysis of all patients seen in the fractured nose clinic by the first author between 17 October 2003 and 27 February 2004. Presence of epistaxis, newly developed external nasal deformity, and the presence of a deviated nasal septum with new symptoms of nasal obstruction were noted.
Results: A total of 139 patients were included in the study. Epistaxis following injury was noted in 106 (76%). Newly developed external nasal deformity was noted in 71 (51%), and 33 (24%) had a deviated nasal septum with new symptoms of nasal obstruction. Of the 106 patients with post-trauma epistaxis, 50 (67%) had newly developed external nasal deformity and of the 33 patients without post-traumatic epistaxis, 11 (33%) had nasal deformity (p<0.05). Post-trauma epistaxis was not associated with the presence of a newly symptomatic deviated septum (25% in patients with epistaxis after injury versus 18% if there was no epistaxis).
Conclusions: Presence of epistaxis after nasal trauma is associated with a statistically significant increase in external nasal deformity. However, one third of patients without epistaxis following nasal trauma also had external nasal deformity and hence all patients with a swollen nose after injury, irrespective of post-trauma epistaxis, still need to be referred to the fractured nose clinic.