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Surface anaesthesia

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Topical anaesthesia describes the application of an anaesthetic agent directly to the surface of its target tissue. In practice, this is commonly to skin and mucous membranes:

  • nose, e.g. 4% lignocaine packs applied to nose
  • gums, e.g. amethocaine to buccal mucosa
  • eye:
    • e.g. conjunctival amethocaine
    • repeated applications often required
  • oropharynx, larynx, trachea: e.g. lignocaine 4% to vocal cords prior to intubation, gastroscopy
  • urethra:
    • prevention of pain following cystoscopy and circumcision
    • gel applied before catheterization

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