Background and Design:
A recent animal study indicated that epinephrine in local anesthesia adversely affects the survival of full-thickness skin grafts. Because animal models do not always correlate to humans, we performed a prospective observational study to elucidate the clinical outcome of using epinephrine in local anesthesia of the donor site. Seventy-two patients had cutaneous tumors excised by the Mohs micrographic technique. The resultant surgical defects were repaired using full-thickness skin grafts. Patients were randomly divided into two groups based on the local anesthetic used at the donor site: (1) 1% lidocaine (Xylocaine) (n=33) or (2) 1% lidocaine with 1:100 000 epinephrine (n=39).
Assessment of the skin grafts at 1 week revealed a significantly increased risk of developing graft complications in the lidocaine with epinephrine group compared with the plain lidocaine group. The overall cosmetic outcome of the grafted site at 6 weeks revealed no significant difference between the two groups.
Because there was only a minimal clinical effect of epinephrine on graft survival observed at 1 week and there was no effect on the 6-week cosmetic outcome, we do not recommend harvesting all full-thickness skin grafts with plain lidocaine. In certain clinical circumstances with compromised vascular supply or poor oxygenation, the use of plain lidocaine may be advantageous.(Arch Dermatol. 1995;131:691-694)
Fazio MJ, Zitelli JA. Full-thickness Skin GraftsClinical Observations on the Impact of Using Epinephrine in Local Anesthesia of the Donor Site. Arch Dermatol. 1995;131(6):691-694. doi:10.1001/archderm.1995.01690180065012