A septal hematoma is when blood collects in the area of your nose between your nostrils, called the septum. Usually some kind of injury disrupts the blood vessels and pulls the lining away from the cartilage, allowing blood to collect between the two. The blood leaks from the injured blood vessels into the surrounding tissue and causes pressure, pain, and bruising.
The nasal septum is usually rigid and thin. If you have a septal hematoma, your doctor will be able to press it down with a swab as the area will be soft. They’ll also be able to look into your nose to see if you have any swelling between the nostrils.
Other symptoms of septal hematoma include:
- trouble breathing through your nose
- a change in the overall shape of your nose
On occasion, it’s possible for people with a septal hematoma to experience:
Septal hematomas are usually caused by nasal injury, the most common form of trauma to the face. A broken nose, surgery, or an injury to the soft tissue are all frequent causes of septal hematoma. The condition occurs more commonly in children because their septums are thicker and have a more flexible lining.
A septal hematoma requires urgent treatment from your doctor in order to stop any further complications arising. They’ll need to assess the extent of the damage and determine the best course of action for your treatment.
The septal hematoma will need to be drained. There are two different procedures used to achieve this. Which one your doctor chooses will depend on the size of the swelling or clot.
If the condition is being treated promptly and is still relatively small, then a small incision can be made to allow the blood to flow out.
If the septal hematoma has been left to develop, then your doctor may need to insert a mechanism in order to fully remove the blood from the area. This is a more extensive procedure.
Once the septal hematoma has been successfully drained, your doctor will need to pack your nasal cavity with some gauze. You will need to return a few days later to have the gauze removed. At this time, your doctor can check on how well you’re healing.
If you’ve received a severe trauma to your nose and have any pain, bleeding, or swelling, it’s essential that you see your doctor as soon as you can. But you can apply ice or a cold pack to the area immediately after the injury has occurred. This will help to reduce swelling.
Wrap the ice in a washcloth to prevent frostbite and try not to apply too much pressure as this can cause further pain. You can apply the ice to your nose to help with pain and swelling for 10 to 15 minutes at a time and up to four times in a day for the first few days after the injury.
Following your drainage treatment, you can also take nasal decongestants to help you to breathe more easily. You can also take over-the-counter pain relief. Keep your head elevated at all times, including while you sleep. This will ensure that the swelling and throbbing do not worsen. Some people have found that applying topical arnica to the area helps them to heal more quickly.
Complications can arise if the septal hematoma is left to develop. Some complications can be serious. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your injured nose will heal itself. Always seek out medical attention.
The most serious complication that can arise as the result of a septal hematoma is a condition known as saddle nose. If the septum’s blood supply is cut off due to the extent of the swelling, then the cartilage between the nostrils can die.
It’s also possible to develop a fever, infection, or an abscess if you don’t seek out treatment as soon as possible.
As long as your septal hematoma is treated promptly, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make a full recovery. You should avoid any activity where your nose might be at risk, such as contact sports, for six weeks following your injury.
If you leave tfahe condition untreated and develop complications such as fever, infection, or an abscess, then they’re still very treatable if you go and see your doctor.
If you develop saddle nose, surgery could be required.