A Prospective Randomized Trial Comparing the Effects of Lidocaine in Breast Reduction Surgery

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Use of dilute epinephrine tumescent solution in breast reduction surgery has been shown to significantly decrease operative blood loss without increasing perioperative complications. Lidocaine is commonly added to epinephrine to decrease postoperative pain. Evidence supporting this practice, however, is limited, and lidocaine toxicity has been reported.


With institutional review board approval, patients undergoing bilateral breast reduction surgery were assigned to receive either tumescent saline solution with epinephrine (1:1 million) (group 1), or tumescent saline solution with epinephrine (1:1 million) and lidocaine (0.05%) (group 2). Tumescent solution (500 ml) was infiltrated just before skin incision. Wise pattern reduction with an inferior pedicle was used in all cases. A nurse in the postanesthesia care unit documented immediate postoperative pain and intravenous narcotic use. Patients used a survey to record postoperative pain, nausea/vomiting, and narcotic use for the first 24 hours. Results were analyzed using analysis of variance and logistic regression models.


Forty consecutive patients were enrolled (20 in each group). There was no statistical difference between groups 1 and 2 in total intravenous narcotic use (0.89 versus 0.55; p = 0.10), 24-hour narcotic use (32.19 versus 29.47; p = 0.71), peak pain scores both in the postanesthesia care unit (5.47 versus 4.47; p = 0.24) and 24 hours postoperatively surgery (6.44 versus 6.68; p = 0.78), and 24-hour nausea/vomiting counts [group 1, OR, 1.11 (p = 0.87); group 2, OR, 1.87 (p = 0.51)]. There were no hospital admissions in either group.


The addition of lidocaine to tumescent solution does not significantly affect postoperative pain following breast reduction surgery. Considering potential risks and added costs, this practice may not be of benefit.


Therapeutic, I.

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