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Topical anaesthesia and decongestion in rhinology

Volume: 62 - Issue: 2

First page: 143 - Last page: 151

S. J. M. Hale - R. Kim - R. G. Douglas

Topical anaesthesia and decongestion of the sinonasal mucosa are used commonly in rhinology practice to facilitate nasal endoscopy, as well as debridement and biopsies. Topical agents used for sinonasal anaesthesia include lignocaine, tetracaine and cocaine. Unlike lignocaine and tetracaine, cocaine also has a decongestant effect. Phenylephrine, oxymetazoline, xylometazoline or adrenaline are usually added to lignocaine and tetracaine to provide decongestion. Several studies have been performed seeking to identify the optimal nasal preparation for nasal endoscopy in the clinic setting. However, there remains no clear consensus in the literature resulting in ongoing wide variation between anaesthetic-decongestant preparations used in clinical practice. Indeed, some authors have argued that no anaesthetic is required at all for flexible nasendoscopy despite the apparent consensus that nasal instrumentation is generally uncomfortable, inferred by the persistence of ongoing research in this area. This review provides a practical summary of local anaesthetic and decongestant pharmacology as it relates to rhinologic practice and summarises the literature to date, with the goal of identifying current gaps in the literature and guiding future research efforts.

Rhinology 62-2: 143-151, 2024

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