Late effects of topical anesthetics on the healing of guinea pig tympanic membranes after myringotomy

Michael M. Gnuechtel, Lynn L. Schenk, Gregory N. Postma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: The optimal local anesthetic for myringotomies or the insertion of tympanostomy tubes in adults should be easy and rapid to use, be painless during application, provide good anesthesia, be reversible, be inexpensive, and not cause any long-term damage to the tympanic membrane (TM). Objective: To evaluate the histologic effects of topical anesthetic agents on the healing of the TM after myringotomy. Methods: Sixty male albino guinea pigs were randomly assigned to 1 of 5 groups. Of the 5 groups, 2 were used as controls: one group underwent a myringotomy and the other group did not. The remaining 3 groups had both TMs treated with a topical anesthetic (phenol, tetracaine base, and eutectic mixture of lidocaine and pri- locaine in a cream) prior to myringotomy. All TMs were inspected periodically and then harvested at 3 months or 6 months postoperatively for histologic examination. Results: The TMs of the group treated with tetracaine appeared the most normal at 6 months (P=.001). However, histologic evaluation failed to demonstrate any significant differences in the thickness of the TM or the lamina propria (P=.45), the amount (P = .80) and orientation (P=.07) of collagen, or the number of infiltrating lymphocytes (P=.70). Conclusion: Based on the histologic findings, all 3 topical anesthetic agents appear to cause equivalent changes to the TM when used for a myringotomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)733-735
Number of pages3
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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