Cauterization of Nosebleeds

by Sam Malone

Cauterization of nosebleeds is a simple process in which the bleeding of the nose seizes due to the burning and sealing of the ruptured blood vessel by external means. Sometimes, when the nose bleeding becomes persistent, then the doctors recommend cautery. The whole surgery only takes about one minute as the sealing of the blood vessel requires contact with the wire or the chemical agents for a few seconds only. This is the reason why doctors cauterize nosebleeds in their clinics or in outpatient departments using local anesthetics.

What Causes Nosebleeds?

Nose bleeding can be a frightening situation as a sudden flow of blood through the nose is very startling. The nose is full of blood vessels that keep the air going into the lungs warm. These vessels, however, are very fragile, and a slight bump or a small force is enough to rupture these blood vessels. Not only the action of external force but the tissues of these veins are so fragile that even in dry weather conditions, like in winter, they tend to crack and thus nose bleeding starts. Some medicines that inhibit the blood clotting process are also responsible for a bleeding nose. Thus, whenever the situation becomes such where even after repeated attempts of controlling the blood, the nose keeps on bleeding, doctors cauterize nosebleeds.

Cauterization for Nosebleeds: Following are the methods used to cauterize nosebleeds:

  • By using an electric current conducted through the wire made of platinum
  • By using a chemical agent like silver nitrate that carries out the necessary reactions to seal the ruptured tissue
The procedure to perform the surgery is simple as it does not require any prior preparations of the patient. Following are the steps involved in the procedure:

  • Inspection of the Nostrils: Carried out on each nostril using light and a speculum. By doing so, the doctors tend to find the bleeding point or the point of rupture of the blood vessel or any other cause of bleeding.
  • Testing of Blood: To know if the blood contains any anti-clotting elements, a sample from the nose is taken for examination. Any signs of anemia are also looked for in the blood.
  • Application of Local Anesthetic: A piece of cotton impregnated with local anesthetic packed into the nostril does the work of numbing the nose to prevent the sensation of pain.
  • Cauterization: The tissues surrounding the bleeding point and the blood vessel are burned using a cauterizing needle with current on it or a stick coated with silver nitrate. This burning causes the tissue to melt and fuse together again, thus sealing the rupture.

Post-Surgery Precautions


In just four simple steps, doctors can cauterize nosebleeds. No further treatment is required after the surgery. However, for a week the patient has to be cautious and will have to take care of the cauterized vein or blood vessel. Any damage to the seal means that the blood vessel will rupture once more. Below is a list of the precautions you should take after your surgery:
  • For a week, avoid blowing your nose because that can be damaging for the seal.
  • Keep your mouth open while you sneeze at all costs.
  • Avoid heavy lifting of loads or strenuous work.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking for a week.
  • Apply the lubricating nose drops regularly.
There are a few chances of nosebleeds after cauterization, but there is nothing to worry about. However, if nose bleeding recurs then you must consult your doctor immediately. Cauterization is a very painless process that ends in no time. It is an effective way to stop nose bleeds so consult a good doctor today if you have persistent nose bleeding.

Reference:
  1. Caring for Your Child, Discharge Instructions: Nasal Cautery, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 2010

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