Topical anesthesia is a method of pain control. The numbing medication is
placed directly on the surface to be treated. Topical numbing
medication comes in many forms, including sprays, gels, gargles, and lozenges.
Who is a candidate for the procedure?
Topical pain medications are used for a wide range of procedures. They can be
used to numb the front of the eye, the inside of the nose, the throat, the
skin, the ear, the anus, and the genital area.
How is the procedure performed?
The type of topical anesthesia applied varies, depending on the area of the
body. Eye drops can be used to numb the front of the eye. Jellies are commonly
used before endoscopy, a procedure in which a thin telescope is placed inside the body.
This telescope allows a doctor to see the inside of the nose, throat, lungs,
stomach, bladder, or other areas. Jelly can be applied or even put on the
telescope so that areas are numbed during the procedure.
Sprays and creams are commonly used on the skin. Sprays or lozenges may be used
for the throat and mouth areas.
After the area is numb from the medication, the procedure can begin.
Procedures range from a routine eye
exam to putting sutures in a cut. Topical anesthesia is most useful for minor
procedures. Major operations require more complete pain control and the person
is usually put to sleep.
While sedatives may be given if needed, a person is usually awake during the
procedure. The numbing effect usually wears off within an hour.