Comparing the Efficiency of Tumescent Infiltration Techniques in Burn Surgery

J Burn Care Res. 2022 May 17;43(3):525-529. doi: 10.1093/jbcr/irac026.


Tangential excision and grafting of burn wounds result in significant intraoperative blood loss, and infiltration of a dilute epinephrine solution (tumescence) is routinely performed to reduce such bleeding. Tumescent infiltration has been described using both a manual technique (syringe) and a pump device. The purpose of this study is to compare the efficiency of these two methods in terms of time and economy of motion. Consecutive adult burn patients at a single center requiring excision and grafting were enrolled in the study and randomized into either the manual or pump technique. Excisions involving less than 2% TBSA were excluded, along with specific anatomic regions (eg, head and neck). Infiltration with epinephrine solution (1:500,000) was performed to the endpoint of tumescence by a single surgeon and filmed/coded for duration, number of maneuvers, and volume of tumescence injected. Fourteen patients were enrolled, and 16 cases were randomized to either manual (N = 8) or pump infiltration (N = 8). The pump method required less time (2.0 vs 1.1 cm2/s, P < .001) and fewer maneuvers (37.8 vs 1.1 cm2/move, P < .001) to reach the desired endpoint of tumescence. Use of the infiltration pump also resulted in a reduced volume of tumescent fluid required to reach this point of tumescence (1.7 vs 2.4 mL/cm2, P = .01). Compared to the manual technique, an infiltration pump was significantly more efficient in terms of both time and economy of motion. These reductions are potentially useful for improving operating room efficiency as well as minimizing operator fatigue.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Loss, Surgical
  • Burns* / surgery
  • Epinephrine / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Skin Transplantation


  • Epinephrine