The effect of needle gauge and lidocaine pH on pain during intradermal injection

Sally C. Palmon, Aaron T. Lloyd, Jeffrey R. Kirsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

83 Scopus citations

Abstract

Local anesthetics can produce pain during skin infiltration. We designed a randomized, prospective trial to determine whether needle gauge and/or solution pH affect pain during the intradermal infiltration of lidocaine. After approval by our institution's human studies review board, 40 healthy adult volunteers gave their consent to participate in this study. All of the volunteers randomly received four intradermal injections. Each volunteer was blinded as to the content of the intradermal injections and to which needle size was used for each injection. Each volunteer randomly received a 0.25-mL intradermal injection of the following four solutions: 1) lidocaine 2% administered through a 25-gauge needle (lido-25); 2) lidocaine 2% mixed with sodium bicarbonate (4 mL of 2% lidocaine plus 1 mL of sodium bicarbonate, pH 7.26) administered through a 25-gauge needle (lido-bicarb-25); 3) lidocaine 2% administered through a 30-gauge needle (lido-30); and 4) lidocaine 2% mixed with sodium bicarbonate (4 mL of 2% lidocaine plus 1 mL of sodium bicarbonate) administered through a 30-gauge needle (lido-bicarb-30). In each patient, the injection site was in the same region for each of the four injections. The skin wheal was tested for appropriate anesthesia using a 19- gauge needle on the skin wheal. A visual analog pain score was recorded after each intradermal injection. The pain scores were significantly higher in the lido-25 (3.2 ± 0.2) group than in the lido-30 (2.5 ± 0.3), lido-bicarb-25 (1.9 ± 0.2), and lido-bicarb-30 (1.3 ± 0.2) groups. The tido-bicarb-30 injection was also rated as less painful than the lido-30 injection. We found no differences between the lido-bicarb-25 and the lido-bicarb-30 injections. Complete analgesia for the 19-gauge needle pain stimulus was achieved in all patients for each injection. We conclude that, overall, the pain intensity of an intradermal injection of 2% lidocaine is low. The addition of sodium bicarbonate to 2% lidocaine decreases the pain associated with an intradermal skin wheal, and although the use of a 30-gauge needle decreases the pain of injection, the addition of sodium bicarbonate seems to have a greater overall effect than needle size. Implications: Forty volunteers randomly received four intradermal injections consisting of 2% lidocaine with or without sodium bicarbonate via a 25- or 30-gauge needle. The addition of bicarbonate had a greater overall effect than needle size in decreasing the pain associated with the intradermal injection of lidocaine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-381
Number of pages3
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Volume86
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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