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A longer-acting local anesthetic agent, such as ropivacaine, may offer advantages over lidocaine for intravenous regional anesthesia. The objectives of this study were to evaluate whether the findings of volunteer investigations with intravenous regional anesthesia with ropivacaine (which have shown prolonged analgesia after release of the tourniquet) translates into improved pain control after surgery.With Human Investigation Committee approval and a double-blind study design, 20 healthy patients with American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status I or II classification who were scheduled to undergo forearm and hand surgery were randomly assigned to administration of 40 ml of either 0.2% ropivacaine or 0.5% lidocaine for intravenous regional anesthesia. Evidence of central nervous system side effects, such as lightheadedness, tinnitus, and metallic taste, as well as cardiac arrhythmias, were evaluated and treated (if necessary) after local anesthetic administration, before and during surgery, and after release of the tourniquet until discharge from the postanesthesia care unit. Regression of sensory anesthesia in the nerve distributions of the forearm and hand was recorded. Verbal numerical pain scores were monitored and quantified until the patients were discharged to home from the postanesthesia care unit. Patient pain scores, side effect profiles, time to first oral intake, and total amount of oral analgesics were recorded 24 h postoperatively.Intravenous regional anesthesia with 0.2% ropivacaine and 0.5% lidocaine provided equivalent levels of surgical anesthesia. After release of the tourniquet, the first evidence for return of sensation in the distribution of the five peripheral nerves occurred later in the ropivacaine group (median, 20 min; range, 15–40 min) than in the lidocaine group (median, 1 min; range, 1–25 min). Verbal numerical pain scores were significantly lower at the time of admission, whereas during the remainder of the postanesthesia care unit stay and later at home, the difference in verbal numerical pain scores between the two groups was no longer statistically significant.Ropivacaine 0.2% may be an alternative to 0.5% lidocaine for intravenous regional anesthesia in the outpatient surgical setting. Longer-lasting analgesia in the immediate postoperative period may be due to a more profound and prolonged tissue binding effect of ropivacaine.