CLINICAL PEDIATRICS (Phila), Volume 22 Number 12: Pages 813-818,
December 1983.

Regional anesthesia during newborn circumcision. Effect on infant pain response.

Holve RL, Bromberger PJ, Groveman HD, Klauber MR, Dixon SD, Snyder JM.

A controlled, double-blind investigation was undertaken to determine whether regional anesthesia by dorsal penile nerve block (DPNB) could effectively minimize the pain and behavioral disruptions usually associated with newborn circumcision. Fifteen infants had DPNB with lidocaine, eight control infants had DPNB with saline, and eight additional control infants were circumcised without undergoing DPNB. Newborn distress was gauged by subjective observation, measurement of heart rate, and the percent of time spent crying in six sequential timed intervals during circumcision. Ninety-three percent of subjects who received lidocaine were observed to have a decrease in agitation after anesthetic administration. The mean increase in heart rate during circumcision was at least 50 percent less in the lidocaine injected group than in either control group (p less than 0.01). Infants who had DPNB with lidocaine cried 50 percent less during circumcision compared to combined controls (p less than 0.01). DPNB was easily administered, and there were no significant complications. Physicians who circumcise newborns have good reason to employ the technique of dorsal penile nerve block with lidocaine to minimize infant pain and distress.

[CIRP Note: This study reflects that DPNB reduces but does NOT eliminate the pain, stress, and trauma of neonatal circumcision in most but NOT all infants.]

(File revised 20 May 2005)

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