Comparison of interventions for pain control with tenaculum placement: a randomized clinical trial

Contraception. 2014 Mar;89(3):229-33. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2013.11.018. Epub 2013 Dec 10.


Objective: Although previous studies have demonstrated that a variety of local anesthetics are effective to decrease pain associated with tenaculum placement, no studies directly compare an injection with a topical anesthetic. The objective of this study was therefore to compare mean pain scores with tenaculum placement after an intracervical lidocaine injection or topical lidocaine gel.

Study design: A randomized, single-blinded trial of women presenting for office gynecologic procedures that required a tenaculum. Women aged 18 years or older were randomized to receive either a 1% lidocaine intracervical injection or topical application of 2% lidocaine gel to the cervix immediately prior to tenaculum placement. The primary outcome was pain at the time of tenaculum placement, measured on a 100 mm Visual Analog Scale. Secondary outcomes included pain with the intervention and satisfaction with tenaculum placement.

Results: Seventy-four women were enrolled and randomized; 35 subjects in each group met criteria for analysis. The two groups had similar socio-demographic characteristics. Women who received the injection had lower mean pain levels at tenaculum placement [12.3 mm (S.D. 17.4 mm) versus 36.6 mm (S.D. 23.0 mm), p<.001] but higher mean pain levels with study drug application [20.4 mm (S.D. 19.4 mm) versus 5.9 mm (S.D. 8.6 mm), p<.001]. Satisfaction with tenaculum placement was similar for the two groups.

Conclusion: Mean pain with tenaculum placement is lower after receiving a lidocaine injection than after receiving a topical lidocaine gel. Satisfaction with tenaculum placement is similar with both interventions.

Keywords: Analgesia; Cervix; Gel; Injection; Lidocaine.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesia / methods*
  • Anesthetics, Local / administration & dosage
  • Cervix Uteri / drug effects
  • Female
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures / instrumentation*
  • Gynecology / instrumentation*
  • Gynecology / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hysteroscopes
  • Intrauterine Devices
  • Lidocaine / administration & dosage
  • Pain Management*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Single-Blind Method


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Lidocaine