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Local anesthesia uses medicine to block sensations of pain from a
specific area of the body. Local anesthetics are usually given by injection
into the body area that needs to be anesthetized. They are not injected into
the bloodstream (intravenous, IV).
Local anesthesia can also be applied directly to the skin
or mucous membranes as a liquid or gel. This is called topical anesthesia. Topical
anesthesia is used for very minor procedures inside the mouth, gums, eardrum, or nose and on the surface of the
skin, eye, anus, or vagina.
Local anesthetics may be given with other medicines that make you
relaxed or sleepy (sedatives). These other medicines are often given by
Local anesthesia is most often used when:
When used properly, local anesthetics are safe and have few major
side effects. But in high doses, local anesthetics can have toxic effects caused
by being absorbed through the bloodstream into the rest of the body (systemic
toxicity). This may significantly affect your heart, breathing, or brain function. Because of these potential toxic effects,
equipment for emergency care must be immediately available when local
anesthetics are used.
September 4, 2013
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& John M. Freedman, MD - Anesthesiology
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