OBJECTIVE:: Despite lack of efficacy data, the majority of first-trimester surgical abortions are performed with a paracervical block. Women may be unnecessarily exposed to a painful injection and potentially noxious medication. Our objective was to estimate the effect of a paracervical block and the effect of gestational age on patient pain perception. METHODS:: This was a randomized, single-blind trial of patients undergoing abortion receiving paracervical block or sham stratified by gestational age (early: less than 8 weeks of gestation, n=60; late: 8-10 6/7 weeks of gestation, n=60). Premedicated with ibuprofen and lorazepam, all participants received 2 mL 1% buffered lidocaine injected at the tenaculum site followed by a slow, deep injection of 18 mL at four sites (block) or no injection (sham) with a 3-minute wait. The primary outcome was dilation pain (100-mm visual analog scale). Secondary outcomes included pain at additional time points, satisfaction, need for more analgesics, and adverse events. RESULTS:: Full enrollment occurred (n=120). We used intent-to-treat analysis. Demographics did not differ between groups. Paracervical block administration was painful (mean 55 mm compared with sham 30 mm, P<.001) but decreased dilation pain (42 mm compared with 79 mm, P<.001) and aspiration pain (63mm compared with 89 mm, P<.001). These results were consistent for both gestational age strata; however, paracervical block benefit was greater at an earlier gestation. Satisfaction scores with pain control and the procedure were significantly higher in the block group. CONCLUSION:: Although paracervical block is painful, it reduces first-trimester abortion pain regardless of gestational age, but the benefit on dilation pain was greater at earlier gestations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology