How To Cauterise An Open Wound Without Dying [Video]

How To Cauterise An Open Wound Without Dying [Video]
To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, hacks and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Lifehacker Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a fix.

In the ultra-macho action flick Rambo III, there’s a famous scene where the titular hero seals a gaping shrapnel wound by cauterising it with fire and gun powder. Awesome, eh? But how feasible is this DIY surgery in reality? This video from The Medicine Journal explains the circumstances where it might not be such a bad idea.

If you don’t have time to watch the clip, the short version is that you should only perform self-cauterisation if you’re in an isolated location and bleeding to death. Even then, the risk of dying from systemic infection is depressingly high without antibiotic treatment. In other words, don’t be like Rambo.

[Via Gizmodo]


  • If you are alone and bleeding to death you will not have enough time to do this properly.
    Do not even think of trying when you are alone, you will not be able to do it, and the pain of the procedure itself, will likely render you unconscious if you have not already died.

    This information really should not be here.

    • >If you are alone and bleeding to death you will not have enough time to do this properly.<
      What’s the worst that can happen, other than dieing in the first place… oh wait.

      I reckon, “If you are alone and bleeding to death”, do whatever it takes to survive.
      Look at it this way: If you don’t do anything, you bleed to death in X minutes. If you try it and succeed, you might survive. Worst case, you pass out and bleed to death.

      If one is at home and wants to try it “because they saw it on TV”, then please take your Darwin award and leave the world to the smarter people.

      • It probably should be noted that there are much better things you can do, before going down this route.

  • I’ve successfully used cauterisation to seal a wound, though on a much smaller scale. As a kid I had a wart on my finger. I heated one end of a metal scalpel with a lighter and burned the wart, waited for the handle to cool and sliced off the burnt bit of flesh. I just kept repeating until the wart was gone forever. Smelt bloody awful though!

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!