QUESTION: Hi I asked a question a couple days ago regarding benzocaine and numbness I'm just wondering can a topical benzocaine spray cause permanent Nerve damage or can damage from benzocaine only be caused through injection? Kind regards

ANSWER: It is well known that local anesthetics are neurotoxic at a high enough concentration. However, permanent nerve damage from a topical spray would be quite unusual and  unexpected.  The fact remains  that you have obvious nerve damage as described and now the question is how did you develop this sensory issue. I would be surprised that a local anesthetic caused this, but you can't ever say that it wasn't the benzocaine with 100% certainty

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QUESTION: The only thing it could be is benzocaine but I didn't over use it. Does this mean I will not recover from the damage?

If it is indeed caused by the benzocaine then it should recover. Nerves are slow to recover and it can take up to a year. There are a variety of factors that determine this including baseline nerve health, overall health of the body and the extent of the original damage.


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Rex Russell


Any question dealing with general anesthesia issues. With particular emphasis on regional anesthesia.


I am a board certified anesthesiologist, graduated from residency in 2004 from Johns Hopkins Hospital. I have since worked as an anesthesiologist first in the Air Force for three years and then most recently in Texas in Private Practice.

Texas Medical Association Texas society of Anesthesiologists American Society of Anesthesiologists

BS, BYU MD, U of Texas, Galveston Intern-St. Joe's Hospital, Phx, AZ Internal Medicine Residency-Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD

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