Pilot Study Comparing Topical Anesthetic Agents in Pterygium Surgery: Subconjunctival Injection Versus 2% Lidocaine Gel Versus 5% Lidocaine Gel

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Purpose:To compare the efficacy of different concentrations of topical lidocaine gel with standard subconjunctival anesthesia.Methods:This was a prospective randomized controlled pilot study with 3 different groups. Group SC received subconjunctival lidocaine and proparacaine drops as needed during surgery. Group L2 received 2% lidocaine gel and group L5 received 5% lidocaine gel. Both lidocaine gel groups could receive another gel dose as needed during the procedure. The primary outcome was pain, which was experienced during and after surgery. The assessment was done using a 10-point linear analog scale at predetermined stages of surgery (1—first incision, 2—pterygium body excision, 3—conjunctival suturing, 4—immediate postoperative period after patching, and 5—assessment by a trained nurse in the absence of a surgeon after operation).Results:We enrolled 45 consecutive patients who underwent primary pterygium surgery. Statistical significance between groups was found in mean pain at administration (2.2 vs. 0.4 vs. 0.0 in SC, L2, and L5 groups, respectively, with P < 0.05). The number of reapplications of anesthetic drops did not differ between the groups. We found a correlation between reapplication of the anesthetic and pain at administration and duration of the procedure.Conclusions:We demonstrated that the use of lidocaine gel at concentrations of 2% and 5% in pterygium surgery was as effective as subconjunctival injection of lidocaine in reducing intraoperative and postoperative pain, producing significantly less pain during initial administration of the anesthetic.

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