To evaluate the effectiveness of the dorsal penile nerve block in reducing the stress of circumcision upon newborns, physiologic measurements in 30 healthy full-term infants (including transcutaneous oxygen levels, crying time, heart rate, and respiratory rate) were monitored continuously before, during, and after the operation. Infants receiving the dorsal penile nerve block with lidocaine (1% Xylocaine) (N = 20) experienced significantly less stress, as evidenced by smaller decreases in transcutaneous oxygen pressure levels, less time spent crying, and smaller increases in heart rate, than infants circumcised in an identical manner without anesthetic (N = 10). No complications resulted from injection of the local anesthetic or from the circumcision procedure itself. Inasmuch as dorsal penile nerve block has a low complication rate, is simple to learn, and adds little time or expense to the overall procedure, and if it proves to be as effective clinically as the physiologic data indicate, the dorsal penile nerve block should be considered for every infant undergoing circumcision.
- Received January 21, 1982.
- Accepted March 26, 1982.
- Copyright © 1983 by the American Academy of Pediatrics