Comparison of the effect of EMLA and semicircular subcutaneous anaesthesia in the prevention of tourniquet pain during plexus block anaesthesia of the arm

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In 54 patients who were to undergo surgery of the upper extremity in plexus block anaesthesia the effect of 5 g EMLA (group E) on tourniquet pain was examined and compared with the effect of a semicircular subcutaneous anaesthesia using 10 ml 0.25% bupivacaine (group B) or 10 ml 1% mepivacaine (group M). Among the patients with satisfactory brachial plexus analgesia allowing for surgery (n = 51), the incidence of tourniquet pain was not significantly different between groups E, M and B. Notably, there was no significant difference in the time of tourniquet application. We conclude that topical application of EMLA is as effective as a semicircular subcutaneous anaesthesia with mepivacaine or bupivacaine in the prevention of tourniquet pain during brachial plexus anaesthesia.

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