Influence of lidocaine on leukocyte function in the surgical wound

Anesthesiology. 1992 Jul;77(1):74-8. doi: 10.1097/00000542-199207000-00011.


The inflammatory response of the wound is mediated to a large extent by leukocytes, which play an important role in the wound healing process. Local anesthetics, which are routinely administered before minor skin surgery and for postoperative pain relief, have been shown to have diverse effects on wound healing. Local anesthetics have also been reported to induce potent inhibition of leukocytes in vitro, although their effects on leukocyte activity in the surgical wound have not been elucidated. The present study investigated the in vivo effects of lidocaine on leukocyte function in the surgical wound of rats by sampling leukocytes from hollow titanium implants. The surgical wound was treated with lidocaine or placebo after implantation of the titanium chamber and before skin closure. Leukocyte metabolic activity was measured by chemiluminescence. Cell count was analyzed in a Bürker chamber. Results showed progressive increase in leukocyte counts in the wounds of control animals and significantly lower cell counts in the wounds of lidocaine-treated animals 48 h (P less than 0.05) and 72 h (P less than 0.05) after surgery. A pronounced inhibition of the metabolic response to serum-opsonized zymosan was seen after 8 h in the lidocaine-treated animals versus controls (P less than 0.05). After 24 h, leukocyte metabolic activity decreased dramatically in the control group and remained at a low level until 72 h after surgery. In the lidocaine-treated group, the leukocyte response to zymosan remained constantly low throughout the study. The effects of lidocaine were not a result of impaired leukocyte viability.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Leukocyte Count / drug effects
  • Leukocytes / drug effects*
  • Leukocytes / physiology
  • Lidocaine / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative*
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*
  • Wound Healing / physiology


  • Lidocaine