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Summary

Background

It is widely accepted that local anesthetics with epinephrine should not be used in areas served by terminal vessels. There is no evidence in studies for this in penile surgery, and given the anatomy of the penis, perfusion complications are highly unlikely. The goal of this study was to show that a penile block using a local anesthetic with epinephrine is safe.

Patients and Methods

In a follow-up study between 2005 and 2010, we analyzed 95 patients who got a penile ring block with subcutaneous infusion anesthesia (SIA). The SIA solution consisted of ropivacaine and lidocaine (0.11% and 0.21%) plus epinephrine.

Results

There were no anesthetic complications. Short-term negative postoperative occurrences (<72 hrs.) were swelling (42%), problems with suture material (22%), pain (19%), hematoma and paresthesia (each 13%), erectile dysfunction (12%), small-area skin necrosis after wound healing without requiring further surgery (13%), micturition disorders (7%), and wound infection (6%). Two patients on anticoagulation therapy had postoperative bleeding requiring revision surgery. 5% of the patients were given further analgesic sedation. 19% complained about postoperative pain. Persistent complaints (maximum 6 months) were disturbances of skin sensation (7%), swelling (4%), and redness and micturition disorders (3% each).

Conclusions

Supplementing a local anesthetic with epinephrine in penis operations has many advantages, including high patient satisfaction, relatively painless infiltration, low complication rates, improved view of the operating field, and an extended effect of anesthetics with a prolonged reduction in pain. Because of the anatomy of the organ, there is no risk of necrosis related to using a subcutaneous penile ring block. Thus the view that epinephrine should not be used in penis procedures is obsolete.