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The subcutaneous injection of water for the relief of non-operative pain was suggested as early as 1868, and since then local anesthesia has been successfully produced by injecting solutions of various drugs into the skin and subcutaneous tissues.
In 1901, Dr. Samuel G. Gant of New York began his experiments with sterile water and has demonstrated that local anesthesia can be obtained quickly by injecting into the skin, mucosa and deeper structures sufficient water to produce a glassy appearance of these tissues; the anesthesia being due, apparently, to the pressure on the terminal nerve filaments. His results were so satisfactory that he now employs it to the exclusion of general and medicinal local anesthesias in most of his rectal operations. Using Dr. Gant's technic, as given below, I have successfully employed sterile water for the production of local anesthesia in the following operations: One exploratory laparotomy, thirty-nine operations for hemorrhoids
STEVENS FW. LOCAL ANESTHESIABY INJECTIONS OF STERILE WATER. JAMA. 1905;XLIV(17):1365–1366. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.92500440001001h
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