Objective: Our study evaluated whether buffering reduces pain from lidocaine injection for loop electrosurgical excisional procedures (LEEPs) of the cervix when compared to unbuffered lidocaine.
Methods: Women undergoing outpatient LEEPs were randomized to receive either buffered or unbuffered lidocaine. Participants, caregivers, and statisticians were blinded to treatment allocation. Pain was categorized as injection, procedure, or cramping pain. Severity of pain was reported using a Likert visual analog scale and compared using Mann-Whitney tests.
Results: Twenty-eight subjects received buffered lidocaine and 24 subjects received unbuffered lidocaine. The 2 groups were similar in regard to age, race, previous LEEP, anesthetic volume used, and loop size. Mean scores were similar between the nonbuffered and buffered groups for injection pain (25 vs 19, p = .13), procedure pain (27 vs 19, p = .08), and cramping pain (19 vs 18, p = .86).
Conclusions: Pain scores with subepithelial lidocaine plus epinephrine for LEEP are low and are not significantly reduced by buffering the anesthetic.