To the Editor.—The article entitled "The Influence of Lidocaine and Iontophoresis on the Pain Threshold of the Human Eardrum" by Johannessen et al, published in the April Archives (1982;108:201-203), stated in the final paragraph that "the ideal method for local surface anesthesia of the TM [tympanic membrane] remains elusive." In 1968, Storrs1 reported his experience with the use of topically applied phenol in 5,000 patients during a ten-year period.
Together, the number of thousands of cases in this long period certainly must exceed 10,000. In our minds, we believe that the topical method is, indeed, the ideal method of applying anesthesia, except in the rare case of the irrepressible youngster, the tortuous canals, or any adult who tends to have syncope at the sight of a white coat.
STORRS LA, CAPAROSA RJ. Pain Threshold. Arch Otolaryngol. 1982;108(11):749. doi:10.1001/archotol.1982.00790590071021
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