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J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2008 Oct;61(10):1226-31. Epub 2007 Nov 5.

Effects of lidocaine and epinephrine on cutaneous blood flow.

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Laboratory for Microvascular Research and Vascular Tissue Engineering, New York University, New York, NY, USA.



Local anaesthetic agents in combination with epinephrine are frequently used in local reconstructive procedures such as skin tumour excision and local flap closure. The purpose of this study was to measure the effect of subdermal injection of lidocaine combined with epinephrine on cutaneous blood flow in the forearm and in the face.


Thirty injections were performed on the forearm and 40 injections were performed on the face in five healthy volunteers. In both anatomical regions, 0.9% phosphate buffered saline (PBS) was used as a control, and experimental injections included 1% lidocaine either alone or in combination with 1:100,000 epinephrine, and an additional combination of 1% lidocaine with 1:200,000 epinephrine used in the facial experiments. Cutaneous blood flow was measured indirectly using laser Doppler imaging (moorLDI-Mark 2).


A statistically significant increase in blood flow was achieved with injection of lidocaine in the forearm compared to saline, whereas a non-statistically significant increase was achieved with saline injection compared to lidocaine in the face. This occurred in the first 5 min in the forearm and 2 min in the face. The addition of 1:100,000 epinephrine to lidocaine resulted in an immediate decrease in cutaneous blood flow which was maximal at 10 min in the forearm and 8 min in the face. This was statistically significant compared to all other injections except for the combination of 1:200,000 epinephrine with lidocaine, injected in the face.


The vascularity of different anatomical areas may account for blood flow differences following injection with saline and lidocaine. Incisions should be delayed for 10 min in the forearm and 8 min in the face following lidocaine+epinephrine injection to allow maximal benefit to take effect. There were no significant differences between 1:100,000 and 1:200,000 epinephrine combined with lidocaine in facial injections his study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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