The effect of silver nitrate on nasal septal cartilage | Ear, Nose & Throat Journal Skip to content Skip to navigation

The effect of silver nitrate on nasal septal cartilage

| Reprints
January 1, 2005
by Simon Lloyd, BSc (Hons), MRCS; John Almeyda, FRCS (ORL); Riccardo Di Cuffa, MRCS; Ketan Shah, FRCPath
Epistaxis from the anterior septum is frequently treated with a topical application of silver nitrate, which cauterizes the bleeding vessel. However, this treatment causes a septal perforation in a small percentage of patients. We report our study of the histologic effect of topical silver nitrate on samples of septal tissue obtained from 11 patients. We found that 30 seconds of exposure allowed silver nitrate to penetrate to a depth of approximately 1 mm. Longer exposure (45 and 60 sec) resulted in no significant additional penetration. Similarly, the amount of silver nitrate deposition into the chondrocytic lacunae did not vary significantly with the length of exposure. On the other hand, the depth of deposition into the extracellular matrix was positively associated with the duration of exposure. We found no direct evidence that silver nitrate exerted any damaging effect on septal cartilage. Instead, the development of septal perforations in patients who receive topical silver nitrate may be attributable to necrosis of the septal cartilage following damage to the overlying perichondrium, from which it derives its blood supply.

ENT Journal provides full text articles to our registered members.
Please log in or sign up for a FREE membership to view the full content:

You may also like to: