Nose cauterization is where a doctor or nurse stops a nose bleed using one of four methods. These methods are hot metal, acid, lasers and a fibrin spray. Nose cauterization is only required for the most serious of nose bleeds and may not treat the underlying cause of the nose bleeds. On rare occasions, there are side effects to it and these are more likely if the nose is cauterized numerous times.
Cauterization is the term given to a medical procedure that burns a part of the body. As a natural consequence of this burning, small areas of tissue are destroyed. It is used to remove undesirable growth and to minimize the effects of infection. It was used more substantially in the past than in the modern era because many of its functions were replaced with the invention of antibiotics. Cauterization was used primarily to fight infections, stem severe blood loss and to close amputation wounds.
Nose bleeds are caused by a number of issues. Excessive picking of the nose is only one of these and rarely leads to serious nose bleeds. Underlying issues such as localized high blood pressure can lead to blood leaking out of the weakest blood vessels. These tend to be in the nose or in the brain, so a nose bleed of this sort is more desirable than the other. Strong nose bleeds can also be caused by stress, allergic reactions, alcohol and drug abuse, and trauma.
The two traditional methods of nose cauterization were hot metal and acid. Of the two, acid is by far the more dangerous. Lasers are more modern, but all three cause a certain amount of damage in order to close off the blood vessels in the nose.
The use of fibrin is a new alternative technique that does not cause damage at all. Fibrin sprays are technically not a type of nose cauterization as no burning takes place, but they are the safest alternative to burning. The spray is made of fibrin, which is a key component of the body’s natural attempts to stem blood loss. The fibrin is sprayed over the wound in the nose, allowing a more natural and less damaging layer to be formed.
While side effects and bad reactions to nose cauterization are rare, they do happen. The most likely cause of a side effect is the overuse of acid to close bleeding blood vessels. The acid can cause the creation of a hole in the nose and in the septum. It can also create pressure around the gums and teeth. If this happens, the patient should seek an alternative form of therapy. Cauterization also does not solve any underlying problems causing the bleeding in the first place.