It’s common for children to experience the occasional nosebleed, whether due to irritation or taking an accidental elbow to the face while playing with friends at Lincoln Park. While they can be frightening, they rarely require medical attention.
However, if your child experiences frequent, recurring nosebleeds, nasal cautery may be necessary.
What is Nasal Cautery?
Nasal cautery, or nasal cauterization, is a procedure where a chemical or electrical device is applied to the mucous membranes in the nose to stop bleeding.
It can be performed when the patient is awake with a topical anesthetic or in an operating room under general anesthesia.
Can I Prevent My Child’s Nosebleeds?
Before nasal cautery is considered, you and your child’s doctor might look for ways to prevent your child from dealing with frequent nosebleeds. Most times the prevention depends on the cause. Some common causes for a bloody nose include:
- Picking or blowing nose
- Colds or allergies
- Structural problems in the nose
- Certain medications
- Abnormal growth in the nose or sinuses
- Clotting disorders
- Blood vessel disorders
If your child’s nosebleeds are due to an underlying condition, treating that might stop the bleeding. Additionally, if it is a behavioral issue like frequent picking, behavioral interventions might be the appropriate treatment.
Other prevention methods involve minimizing dryness by using nasal creams, ointments, gels and sprays as well as humidifiers.
If your child’s nosebleeds cannot be controlled or treated at home, they should go to the doctor. Any nosebleed that recurs four or more times in one week requires a medical evaluation.
If all other treatments and prevention methods fail, your child’s doctor will likely recommend nasal cautery.
During and After Nasal Cautery
The procedure is safe and quick, often only taking 5-10 minutes. However, that can vary depending on the severity of the nosebleeds or if other procedures are being done at the same time. In cases where only nasal cauterization is being performed, your child can go home shortly after the procedure.
They may be fussy and/or groggy afterward. It’s also common for them to experience minor nosebleeds and nasal drainage after the procedure. Both are a normal part of the healing process.
Your doctor will likely recommend you use a moisturizing or antibiotic ointment in the nose after the procedure to aid in the healing process. Ibuprofen or Tylenol may be taken for pain.
If you have additional questions about nasal cautery or wish to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, call Albany ENT & Allergy Services today.