Purpose: Circumcision is performed under general anaesthesia (GA) with dorsal penile nerve block (DPNB) as an analgesic technique for postoperative pain. The purpose of this study was to compare DPNB as the sole anaesthetic procedure vs GA and DPNB for circumcision in children as an outpatient procedure.
Methods: In a six-month prospective study, 250 boys aged 6 to 17 yr (mean age 11.5 +/- 3.5 yr) were randomized into two groups. Group A (n = 122) received DPNB only prior to circumcision, and Group B (n = 128) received GA + DPNB. The groups were compared for complications of the block, effectiveness of anaesthesia, operating room time, postoperative time and ease of recovery.
Results: There were no major operative complications in the two groups. Minor block complications, including oedema and haematoma, occurred in 16 (13.1%) boys in Group A and 27 (21.10%) boys in Group B (NS). At surgery, 3 (2.6%) from Group A received additional GA and 1 (0.8%) received additional local anaesthesia. They represent a DPNB failure rate of 3.3%. Mean operating room time was 11 +/- 2.5 min in Group A and 19 +/- 3.5 min in Group B, and post-anaesthesia care unit (PACU) time was 51 +/- 10 min in Group A and 101 +/- 14.5 min in Group B (P < 0.001). Nausea and vomiting in the PACU were noted in one patient in Group A and in 15 in Group B (P < 0.05). Only patients in Group B required additional analgesia and tranquilizers in the PACU (0 versus 20; P < 0.05).
Conclusions: These data confirm that DPNB has advantages over GA + DPNB for paediatric circumcision in day-care surgery.