Nasal cautery

Nasal cautery is a procedure undertaken to seal a blood vessel in the nose that is causing recurrent nosebleeds.

A topical local anaesthetic is applied on cotton wool and placed in the nasal cavity for about 15 minutes.  After removing the cotton wool the vessel to be cauterised is identified.  A silver nitrate stick is applied around the vessel until it has sealed.

The procedure is not usually painful but may "sting" a little.


  • The silver nitrate reaction produces a dark grey fluid reaction which can stain the skin temporarily. It is best to apply some cotton wool in the front of the nose to reduce the risk of this happening. 

  • Bleeding can occur when the ":scab" comes away and it is important not to itch or pick at the area.


  • Antibiotic cream is prescribed after the procedure to be used for 5 days.  The patient is advised to avoid contact sports, hot baths and not to fly for the following 10 days. 

Taking oral steroids  - what can you expect?

Although the dose of steroids that you have been prescribed seems like a lot as it is a reducing course over 8 days there are unlikely to be significant side effects. However the steroids do make patients feel quite "hyper" and "edgy" s well as hungry. Sleeping may be difficult and it is best to take the steroids in the mornings if possible.

For those patients with reflux disease, diabetes or hypertension, these may be made worse by the steroids. 

Steroids can have an effect on emotion and mood and you may wish to let your family know this. Whilst often patients have a sense of euphoria they may also become emotionally labile.

Weight gain with a short course is unusual.

Very rarely one can develop a reaction to the steroids where the blood supply to the hip can go into spasm and if there is any hip discomfort the steroids should be discontinued immediately.