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Nose Cauterization Guide

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 8/26/2009

This article focuses on the nose cauterization procedure and its elements.

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    A nose cauterization is a surgical procedure in which a chemical agent or device is used to destroy or coagulate tissue. It does this by freezing, with a caustic agent or with a hot iron. This procedure will close off a part of the nose. It is most commonly used in more remote regions of the world and is not often used in the United States.

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    Purpose of This Procedure

    This procedure is mainly used to stop bleeding, particularly nosebleeds. Those who experience frequent nosebleeds are the best candidates for this procedure. Those who experience repeated nosebleeds often experience them due to a blood vessel in their nose that is exposed. By closing off the exposed blood vessel a person will most likely experience less nosebleeds and some patients will be completely relieved of their nosebleeds.

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    Procedure Description

    Patients undergoing a nose cauterization will be put to sleep under general anesthesia. Once the patient is asleep a breathing tube will be placed and their nose will be decongested. Next, the surgeon will visualize the lining of the nose with the help of a microscope. This microscope allows the surgeon to see exactly what is causing the patient to have frequent nosebleeds. Once the surgeon finds the source of the frequent nosebleeds he or she will close them off or repair them through cauterization. As long as patients do not experience any complications during surgery they can go home within two to three hours after the procedure.

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    Possible Complications

    The most common complication is spot bleeding or slight seepage. This complication typically goes away in a day or two. However, if it does not go away an additional cauterization may need to be performed. Other complications, though rare, include adverse or allergic reactions to the anesthesia used and infection.

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    Outcome

    The majority of all patients will heal completely and will notice a significant decrease in the number of nosebleeds they experience. Many patients will no longer experience nosebleeds. Patients should not blow their nose for at least a week after the procedure and they should follow up with their doctor a week after the procedure.

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    Resources

    Allegheny General Hospital. (2009). Nasal Cauterization. Retrieved on August 25, 2009 from Website: http://www.wpahs.org/agh/pediatricent/Nasal.html