Nasal septum cauterisation

Cauterisation of the nose

Using heat to cauterise your septum will help deal with persistent nosebleeds

Why does a nose need to be cauterised?

Your nose is full of tiny, delicate blood vessels that can be easily damaged and bleed. Sometimes nasal bleeding can come from deeper within the nose. This can happen if you suffer a blow to the head, have had recent nasal surgery, and or your arteries start to harden (atherosclerosis).

If your consultant is are able to identify exactly where the bleeding is coming from, they may carry out a minor procedure to seal the bleeding blood vessel by cauterising (burning) it. 

Need to know

  • What happens during cauterisation? icon plus

    Cauterising blood vessels is usually done using a stick of a chemical called silver nitrate. A local anaesthetic will be sprayed into your nose to numb it and the silver nitrate stick will be held against the bleeding point for up to 10 seconds.

    Afterwards, your consultant will pack your nostrils with pads in order to stem any post-procedure bleeding. You may be recommended medication to relieve any pain you might experience.

  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will explain any preparations you might need to take. You should remove any jewellery from your nose before arriving for your procedure.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    Following your procedure you should avoid the following for 24 hours:

    • blowing or picking your nose
    • heavy lifting or strenuous exercise
    • lying flat,
    • drinking alcohol or hot drinks
    • removing any crusts that form inside your nose
    • sneezing with your mouth closed as this increases the pressure in your nose
    • people with coughs and colds

    If you have been given an antiseptic nasal cream, once the bleeding stops, this should be applied to the inside of your nostrils several times a day for up to two weeks, to help prevent further bleeding.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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