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Got a face for rugby?

“The width of neck and shoulder suggested a rugby player, the broken nose confirmed it”.

-Spike Milligan

As dawn breaks in Paris on Sunday, a few misshapen noses are likely to be seen amongst the South African and All Blacks players (in addition to the inevitable sore heads).

The battle-scarred noses of current and past players and their coaches tell the story of one of the commonest injuries of the professional rugby player; a broken nose. With the average South African and All Blacks player weighing 115kg and a combined pack weight close to that of a Land Rover Defender, professional rugby players’ noses (especially those in the scrum) don’t stand a chance.

Even for grass roots players or keen amateurs, this high impact sport where players regularly collide with one another can result in a broken nose at some point.

The increasing focus on head injury prevention in sport will, hopefully, result in fewer broken noses over time. However, a broken nose is the most common facial injury or fracture amongst the general population and rugby players are more likely than most to experience this injury.

What is the impact of a broken nose?

Most obviously, a broken nose can significantly alter the appearance of the face which can lead to self-consciousness and a loss of confidence. In the workplace, a disfigured nose may subconsciously project an image at odds with a professional role.

Broken noses can also lead to difficulty breathing through the nose resulting in discomfort and poor sleep quality.


Rhinoplasty and/or septorhinoplasty surgery (a “nose job”) can significantly improve both the appearance and function of the nose after a traumatic injury.

The timing of surgery is an important consideration. Professional players may wait until their playing career has finished before seeking treatment or surgery. However, for the amateur rugby player the best timing can be trickier to determine. The first operation is always the best operation and repeated corrective surgeries are best avoided if possible.

Seeking advice at an early stage after the nose is broken is recommended. Simple measures may significantly reduce symptoms and non-surgical treatments can be useful in improving the appearance of the nose ahead of surgery. In some cases, the nose can be manipulated shortly after the injury occurs, avoiding the need for surgery entirely.

Whether your nose was broken last week or twenty years ago, the extensive experience and expertise of the team at the Harley Street Nose Clinic will ensure that you will get the best advice and treatment.

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