BACKGROUND The specialty of dermatology relies heavily on local anesthesia for diagnosis and management of skin disease. The appropriate selection, preparation, administration, and monitoring of these medications affect surgical outcome and patient safety and satisfaction. OBJECTIVE To perform a comprehensive literature review of the side effects and risks associated with local anesthetics used in cutaneous surgery. Current recommendations to reduce risk and minimize side effects are reviewed. MATERIALS AND METHODS A comprehensive review of the English-language medical literature search was performed. RESULTS No current review articles of the side effects and risks of local anesthetics were identified. This review serves to discuss local anesthetics commonly used in dermatology and cutaneous surgery along with practical information regarding prevention of adverse outcomes and addressing local and systemic reactions when they arise. CONCLUSION Local anesthetics commonly used in cutaneous surgery have potential risks and side effects. Appropriate selection and utilization of local anesthetics and knowledge of the means to prevent and address these risks can impact surgical outcomes, patient satisfaction and safety, and ultimately patient experience in the dermatology clinic.
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