Numbness on one side of your nose is an alarming symptom if you have no idea why it’s there, such as a recent blow to the nose or cosmetic surgery (rhinoplasty).

This post doesn’t focus on global or even-sided numbness, but numbness on one side (unilateral) of the nose. Oddball symptoms like this often make people suspect a tumor.

“Numbness on the side of the nose will come from issues with the infraorbital nerve (a branch of the Vth cranial nerve), which supplies sensation to the cheek, upper lip and side of the nose,” says Dr. Stacey Silvers, MD, of Madison ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery in NYC, who is board certified in otolaryngology and specializes in sinus surgery.

Dr. Silvers explains, “The nerve runs through the roof of the sinus over the cheek and exits through a foramen (opening) below the eye.

“Tumors can press on this nerve but will likely have associated facial pain prior to experiencing paresthesia [numbness].

“Viruses can inflame any cranial nerve and can cause unilateral symptoms.

“Trauma to the cheek can injure the infraorbital nerve either temporarily or permanently.

“Sudden symptoms can be treated with a taper of oral steroids, and if unresolved an MRI or the brain or a CT scan of the sinuses is indicated.”

A transient ischemic attack will not cause a sensation of numbness on one side of the nose without other symptoms such as sudden facial paralysis, difficulty speaking or sudden headache. A sinus tumor can also be benign.

An NYC expert in ear, nose and throat care, Dr. Silvers has been named among America’s Top Physicians and Surgeons in facial plastic surgery and otolaryngology numerous times since 2003.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.