Nasal Cauterization


Cauterization is a medical term that basically means to burn or destroy tissue. In first aid treatments, cauterization may be used to stop a wound from bleeding profusely. Often, cauterization is used to close up amputated wounds, stop bleeding from occurring and to fight infections. If you have frequent nosebleeds, your doctor may recommend that an artery or vein in your nose be cauterized. When this happens, heat is applied to the location of the bleeding. The sudden heat seals off the blood vessels so that the flow of blood is stopped. Since nasal cauterization takes only a few minutes to perform, this procedure is often done at the doctor’s office or in an outpatient setting.


Why Is Nasal Cauterization Carried Out?

Your nose is designed to have a continuous supply of blood so that you can warm up any air that you inhale and keep it humid as it travels to your lungs. Due to this supply of rich blood, the nose is a common site of bleeding. Nosebleeds, or epistaxis, is common among children and adolescents. In addition to age and genetics, a nosebleed may be caused by having exceptionally dry membranes within the nose, trauma or an infection. If the nose is picked or blown excessively, a nosebleed may occur. Likewise, vigorous exercise, sneezing and coughing can cause a nosebleed. Normally, this type of bleeding occurs from just one vein that has become engorged within the wall of the septum. If the nosebleed is just a one time occurrence, the individual will generally be left to heal on their own. If someone has frequent nosebleeds, their doctor may recommend a nasal cauterization.

How Is a Nasal Cauterization Done?

In general, the doctor will heat up a platinum needle using electricity. Once the needle is thoroughly heated, it is placed in the nostril to seal the tissue. Sometimes, doctors will use silver nitrate or other caustic agents to seal off the bleeding tissue. In general, this procedure is extremely easy and quick to perform.

Nasal cauterization starts with an inspection of the nostril. The doctor must first figure out where the bleeding is coming from to determine where they will cauterize. Afterward, the doctor may take a blood test to figure out if the patient has anemia and if any anti-clotting agents are present. Once this is done, the doctor will use a local anesthetic to number your nose. They will then use the heated needle to cauterize the blood vessels and force them to fuse together. When this is done properly, the rupture will heal and the bleeding will be stopped.

Caring for Yourself After a Nasal Cauterization Is Performed

Following your nasal cauterization, you should not need any more treatment or medical care. You should be extremely careful for the next seven to ten days to make sure that you do not do anything that could cause the bleeding to start again. Your nostril will take about a week to heal, so you need to make sure that you do not cause any trauma to your nose through coughing, exercise or other activities. If your nostril begins to bleed again, you should go back to your doctor to get additional help.

Following this procedure, you should do the following things to make sure that the nasal cauterization has time to heal:

  • Avoid blowing your nose whenever possible and keep your mouth open if you do have to sneeze.
  • Do not use any alcohol or tobacco product for at least a week after a nasal cauterization.
  • Do not perform any heavy lifting or heavy exercise for at least a week.
  • Use nose drops to ensure that your nose is lubricated and does not dry out.

Following a nasal cauterization, you may feel burning or slight pain for a few days. You can handle the pain through taking Tylenol or by spraying the inside of your nose with a saline solution.

Once you have had a nasal cauterization, you need to make sure that you allow your nose time to heal. You do not want to have several nasal cauterization procedures because they can become less effective over time. When you do have a basic nosebleed, you can use a cold compress on the bridge of your nose as you squeeze the ridge to get the bleeding to stop. Ideally, your doctor will only want to perform a cauterization on one nostril at a time, and they will not want to perform the procedure too frequently. Due to this, you need to make sure to take care of your nose so that future nasal cauterization procedures are not necessary.


  1. Had my nose cauderized the first of October. I had no trouble at all until today and it bled again. It stopped but the bleeding was heavy (just like before). Any thoughts?

    • Return to the medical professional that cauterized your nose. Continue to monitor your symptoms. Ensure that there is no infection. If there is an infection, then visit an emergency medical professional at this time. Best of luck, Dad!

      • I had the electric cauterizing today. My teeth are hurting. They hurt for is a sec. when the procedure was being done. Is this normal?

        • This pain will diminish overtime. If it does not or the pain increases, then visit a medical professional. If you feel the need to visit an emergency medical professional, then do so. For now relax and get your rest. Have a great day, LePond!

  2. I had my nose cauterized 2 week’s ago with silver nitrate. The scab came off after 3 days but on day 14 I had a nosebleed that was easy to stop. That side of my nose is still slightly sore (when I touch the outside of my nose such as applying moisturizer). How do I know if it’s healing properly? Since I can’t see it it’s hard to monitor infection or healing progress like I would if it was elsewhere on my body.

    • If you are unable to look into a mirror to check on your nose, then make an appointment with a medical professional. Continue to monitor your symptoms as best as you are able to. This will help you address any questions that your medical professional may have. Have a great day, Heidi!

  3. Hi i had this done to my right nostril about 22yrs ago after years of severe nose bleeds and i hadnt had any recurrence since untill today i blew my nose and blood started pouring out just as it used to and lasted 10mins could it be that the cauterized vessel has grown back

    • Continue to monitor these experiences. You may want to make an appointment with a medical professional at this time. If your nose continues to bleed, then visit an emergency medical professional. Your doctor will be able to give you treatment at this time. Best of luck, Fiona!

    • Fiona I have the SAME thing happen to me. I have an appointment Friday Nov 10 to see the ENT that did my nostril 3 years ago. I had horrific water facet heavy bleeds. They stopped when I had cauterized. Last week I wake up from a horrific nose bleed from the SAME side. I could not stop until after an hour. I live alone and I was scared. messy and horrible. Now I have to go back to having cauterized and THIS TIME I hope they get that vessel under control OR could be a new one. In the meantime I live in paranoid that I can have one at any time any where. When I go out to the store I have to carry with me towels, I pack my nose with cotton I even carry a container of cider vinegar. I soak a cotton ball and put up my nose as it bleeds and it helps allot to stop. burns the vessels, What a nightmare for me to go through this again. I am glad I am not working right now. I look forward to my appt.

      • Thank you for sharing your insights and experiences. Continue to monitor these symptoms. Speak with your doctor about your concerns. It is beneficial that you have made an appointment. Best of luck, May!

  4. A family member has had two nasal chemical cauteries in two years time for lengthy nose bleeds in the same nostril. They had another big nosebleed yesterday, but quite not as bad as the others.

    Are there concerns with getting multiple cauteries in one nostril??

    • You will find greater benefit by speaking with your family member’s medical professional. You may want to speak with a specialist. This doctors will have the information available to them based on your family member’s medical history. If you have concerned, then speak with doctor at this time. Best of luck, Ann!

  5. I had cauterization done about 9 days ago. And today in the morning the scab fell off. Everything seemed fine but a smaller scab developed over the day and in the evening it started bleeding.

    Did this mean that the cauterization didn’t work or is there still hope?

    • Scabs often fall off and a new one will replace them. It is likely that the previous scab was loosed during your sleep. Continue to monitor your experiences. If you find that there are any changes that need to be addressed by a medical professional, then make an appointment. Reduce stress in your life and abstain from touching or irritating your new scab. Best of luck, Mpatel!

  6. So I’ve had nosebleeds that last about 10-15 minutes a day, and I’ve had them for about 4 days now. And I almost always never get nosebleeds. Should I be worried? And does nose cauterization hurt if I have to have it done?

    • It would be beneficial for you to speak with a medical professional. Continue to monitor your symptoms so you may better address any questions that your doctor may have. All surgeries are uncomfortable, however you should not allow that to prevent you from caring for your body. Have a great day, Michael!

    • I had a nasal cauterization with the silver nitrate. I got this recently done and it was about a day and a half ago. I was told by my doctor to use a cotton swab to apply bacitracin to the cauterized area but the problem is my doctor never showed me how to apply bacitracin to my cauterization and I’m afraid that I could ruin the scab and have to get another cauterization. Do you know anyway how to apply bacitracin to a cauterized nose?

      • You will find benefit in calling your doctor at this time. Request specific advice for this procedure. Members of our community may share their experiences and insights with you. Best of luck, Gigi!

  7. I had my right nostril cauterised today and it’s extremely runny, it’s a clear gooey stuff that keeps coming out of my nose. There’s also brown stuff around the inside of my nose. Is this normal? Also when should I put the cream that the doctor gave to me up ?

    • You should speak with your doctor about the instructions on your medication. If the instructions are not on the label, then you should call your doctor at this time. The instructions should be on the label. If your doctor did not give you instructions, then you may want to speak with another medical professional in the future. Have a great day, Charlotte!

      • Thank you for sharing your experiences. Please feel free to share your advice in the future. Have a great day, Vikki!

  8. Hi my daughter had nasal.cautery how long it take to get rid of nose blockage in night i feel.the nasal block has gone worst ater surgery

    • She may be healing and experiencing swelling or other symptoms of healing. It is also possible that the surgery did not resolve the problem. It would be beneficial to continue to monitor her symptoms at this time time. You may want to make a follow up appointment with her doctor. This will be beneficial for her. Reduce stress in her life at this time. Best of luck, Sebi!

  9. Hi There.

    I had a nasal cauterisation done yesterday using electro cauterisation and I have absolutely no pain or swelling at all?

    Is this normal?

    • Everyone responds differently to nasal cauterization, so this may just be how your body responds. If so, it sounds like you are luckier than most.

    • These experiences are different for each person. If you normally take a long time to heal or experience unpleasant sensation for extended periods of time, then that will probably be the case. If things normally go away quickly, then you should be healed up soon. Have a great day, Savannah!

    • What did your doctor say? It would probably be a good idea to avoid strenuous physical activity for a couple of days, but you should just ask your doctor and do what he or she says.

  10. Hi there. My son is having this done in a&e. What happens after? Does he have to sit quietly? (He’s 15) can he go to school tomorrow? What about pe? Sorry for all the questions, but I find it a little scarey. Thankyou for help. Jeanette x

    • It’s not nearly as scary as it sounds. Human beings have been using cauterization in some form since the Middle Ages. These questions are best to ask your doctor. Don’t worry too much though–cauterization is basically a way to speed up the scabbing process and stem bleeding.

  11. I had my nose caterized 3 days ago I was washing my face in the shower my nose blead a little is my caterization still ok

    • It depends on how heavily it is bleeding. Don’t pick at it. It may have just opened up slightly and will scab over again on its own. If it is bleeding heavily or does not stop bleeding, go to your doctor immediately.

  12. I got my left nostril cauterized with silver nitrate 3 days ago. I blew my nose this morning. Everything was fun, but then later on in the morning, the cauterized scab fell off. Does this mean it healed or should I call my doctor? I’ve gotten this nostril cauterized twice in the past already.

    • Scabs, by their very nature, fall off when they are no longer needed. If bleeding had resumed, then it likely has already scabbed over. Continue to monitor your nose at this time. Have a great day, Michelle!

  13. I just had mine done & it is running & dripping with some blood tinged in. Not dark red blood as it did when I had the bleeds beforehand. Should I be concerned?

    • Continue to monitor it. It should heal over time. If it continues to bleed for another day, then you may want to take action. Best of luck, Tamz!

  14. My daughter has to have one done and is very young… will it be more painful and will there be a longer recover time?

    • Age does not always matter when it comes to pain. Some people seem to experience pain more than others. Recovery time is generally faster for younger people. Have a great day, Phyllis!

    • Everyone’s body works at different speeds. Continue to be patient as you move forward. It will work itself out in time. Best of luck, Robert!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here