Ice-cube cryotherapy prior to subcutaneous local anesthetic injection reduced pain in patients undergoing repair for simple lacerations, in a study published in Emergency Medicine Journal.

The researchers prospectively evaluated the effectiveness of ice cube cryotherapy for pain relief prior to subcutaneous local anesthetic injections for simple lacerations. Patients were randomly assigned to no pretreatment of the injection site (n=25) or topical cryotherapy with an ice cube in a sterile glove applied for 2 minutes (n=25). Perceived pain was evaluated with the numeric rating scale (scores from 0 to 10).

The median numeric rating scale scores for the injection were higher in the no pretreatment group (5.0; 95% CI, 3.91-6.05) compared with the cryotherapy group (2.0; 95% CI, 1.81-3.47; P =.001). Pain levels associated with the ice cube application were rated as a median of 2.0 (95% CI, 1.90-3.70). Wound complications were not observed in either group.

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The study authors explained that “effective patient-centric pain reduction strategies that do not require additional modification during suturing procedures and that are effective and easy to use should be implemented.” They added: “Pre-emptive topical ice cube cryotherapy is an effective and safe treatment that reduces pain from local an[a]esthetic injections in patients with simple lacerations.”

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Song J, Kim H, Park E, et al.Pre-emptive ice cube cryotherapy for reducing pain from local anaesthetic injections for simple lacerations: a randomised controlled trial [published online October 12, 2017]. Emerg Med J. doi:10.1136/emermed-2017-206585