Finer Needles Reduce Pain Associated With Injection of Local Anesthetic Using a Minimal Insertion Injection Technique

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The injection of local anesthetic into the skin is often the only memorable event described by the patient after dermatologic procedures.


The authors compared the pain felt during injection of local anesthetic using a minimal needle insertion technique with a 30- or 33-gauge needle.


Three hundred eighteen patients with tumors on the head and neck were injected with lidocaine using a previously described technique with either a 30- or 33-gauge needle. After injection, patients were surveyed using the visual assessment scale for pain.


Seventy-seven percent of patients felt no pain with injection on the face using a 33-gauge needle compared with 64% with a 30 gauge, whereas 94% of patients felt no pain on the scalp with a 33-gauge needle compared with 54% with a 30 gauge. Visual analog scale scores were also significantly decreased on the face and scalp using the smaller needle. There was no difference in pain between the 2 needles with injection on the neck.


This study further validates the use of this technique for the injection of lidocaine and the preference of a 33 gauge over a 30-gauge needle for the initial injection on the face and scalp.

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