Nasal Cauterization

Nasal Cauterization Methods And Alternatives

Nasal cauterization is a procedure sometimes called for when one is suffering from a nosebleed that will not stop, or is suffering from frequent nosebleeds. Nasal cauterization is not the only cure for nose bleeding; the procedure used depending somewhat on the nature and location of the bleeding.

Most of the nosebleeds we get occur in the front part of the nose, and usually result from picking the nose, blowing the nose excessively, or being hit in the nose. For most individuals, nosebleeds occur infrequently, and when they do occur, the bleeding usually stops within a minute or two, and sometimes within a few seconds. In cases like this, there is obviously no need for nasal cauterization.

We usually think of cauterization as a means of closing a wound, not only to stop bleeding, but to lessen the chances for an infection that could occur should the wound be left open or exposed for any period of time. Cauterization typically involves heating or burning the exposed tissue. Obviously, in the case of nasal cauterization, should it be become necessary, the procedure would be done under either a local or general anesthetic, most often the latter.

Several Types Of Cauterizing Processes - While one might picture a hot iron or more likely a hot needle being inserted into the nasal cavity, the procedure nowadays is more often than not done with a laser. The patient still is anesthetized, but laser technology allows very precise cauterization to be performed, much more precise than once was the case. Heating is not the only procedure used in nasal cauterization. Freezing will often yield the same result, and a third method would involve a chemical agent, usually silver nitrate, which will destroy or coagulate tissue. A fourth approach that is sometimes used is inserting an absorbent sponge into the nasal chamber once the location of the bleeding is determined. The sponge will normally be left in the nose for 2 or 3 days. Bleeding will cause the sponge to expand and apply pressure to the inside of the nose, which is often all that is required to stop the bleeding and often stop it permanently. Sponges tend to be employed more often if the bleeding is emanating from the rear or posterior of the nose.

An Out-Patient Procedure - Whichever method is employed, nasal cauterization is almost always accomplished on an out-patient basis, with the patient usually able to return home shortly after the procedure is finished. Nasal cauterization usually produces nothing in the way of unpleasant side effects. In some instances there may be continued bleeding. This is not uncommon, and the bleeding, called spot bleeding, is usually not profuse and will go away in a day or two. If not, further cauterization may be called for. The only other side effect of note might be infection, though the chances of this are lessened as there is usually no open wound requiring healing. On rare occasions, a person may have an allergic reaction to the anesthesia, but this can happen with any type of surgery.

Posterior Nosebleeds - Nosebleeds that occur in the back of the nose, called posterior bleeding, can be much more difficult to treat or to stop, and can in some instances be quite dangerous. There are not as many blood vessels in the back of the nose, so posterior nosebleeds are not particularly common. If nasal cauterization is called for, if indeed possible, laser technology will usually be employed. More often, a glue containing the protein fibrin will be used, as fibrin can effectively stop bleeding. When all else fails, surgery may be required to plug or tie off the bleeding vessels. Bleeding in the back of the nose can be an indication of a serious disorder, but is mainly dangerous because the blood, rather than escaping visibly through the nose, may escape into the throat where the possibility of aspiration into the lungs exists.