Defining the optimum tumescent anaesthesia solution in endovenous laser ablation

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Abstract

Objectives

To produce a tumescent anaesthesia solution with physiological pH for endovenous thermal ablation and evaluate its influence on peri- and postoperative pain, clinical and quality of life outcomes, and technical success.

Methods

Tumescent anaesthetic solution (0.1% lidocaine with 1:2,000,000 epinephrine) was titrated to physiological pH by buffering with 2 ml incremental aliquots of 8.4% sodium bicarbonate. Patients undergoing great saphenous vein endovenous laser ablation and ambulatory phlebectomy were studied before and after introduction of buffered tumescent anaesthetic. Primary outcome was perioperative pain measured on a 10 cm visual analogue scale. Secondary outcomes were daily pain scores during the first postoperative week, complications, time to return to normal activity, patient satisfaction, generic and disease-specific quality of life, and technical success. Patients were assessed at baseline, and at 1, 6 and 12 weeks following the procedure.

Results

A physiological pH was achieved with the addition of 10 ml of 8.4% sodium bicarbonate to 1 l of standard tumescent anaesthetic solution. Sixty-two patients undergoing great saphenous vein endovenous laser ablation with phlebectomy were recruited before and after the introduction of buffered tumescent anaesthetic solution. Baseline and operative characteristics were well matched. The buffered solution was associated with significantly lower (median (interquartile range)) periprocedural pain scores (1 (0.25–2.25) versus 4 (3–6), p < 0.001) and postoperative pain score at the end of the treatment day (1.8 (0.3–2.8) versus 3.0 (1.2–5.2), p = 0.033). There were no significant differences in postoperative pain scores between the groups at any other time. There were no significant differences in other clinical outcomes between the groups. Both groups demonstrated significant improvements in generic and disease-specific quality of life, with no intergroup differences. Both groups demonstrated 100% ultrasonographic technical success at all time points.

Conclusions

Buffering of tumescent anaesthetic solution during endovenous thermal ablation is a simple, safe, inexpensive and effective means of reducing perioperative and early postoperative pain.

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