Is It Ok to Place Saran Wrap on Top of Topical Anesthetic Pre-Fraxel Re:store?

I had the 2nd of 6 Fraxel re:store treatments (4 weeks apart) last week & it was more painful the 2nd time (although the settings 2nd time were slightly lower). For 1st treatment the PA placed Saran wrap over the lidocaine on my face for ~60 minutes & treatment was bearable (last 2 passes were the worst). Before 2nd treatment, same anesthetic (thick layer) for about ~75 minutes but NO Saran wrap & treatment hurt worse. PA said Saran wrap was not usually used-is Saran wrap OK? Thx!

Doctor Answers 4

Saran Wrap on top of topical anesthetic for Restore?

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The answer is definitely no!  The recent anesthetics that we use have high concentrations of lidocaine.  When you cover it with saran wrap you enhance the absorption of the lidocaine and increase your body's approach to systemic toxicity levels.  Several years ago, there were two girls who died on the East Coast who were given topical lidocaine to apply to areas with saran wrap before they went to an office for laser hair removal and died because of the absorption of lidocaine unsupervised.  In our office, all topical anesthetic is applied and monitored in office and never applied with saran wrap since the worry of toxicity is not worth it.



Dr. Liu


Occluding Anesthetic Cream

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I would not recommend placing saran wrap over an anesthetic cream.  There is a potential for greater unwanted side effects due to increased absorption.  

David V. Poole, MD
Altamonte Springs Plastic Surgeon

Topical anesthetic cream

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If your doctor decides to occlude the anesthetic cream with saran wrap to help make it more effective, there can be greater risks for side effects including serious complications. Usually, if the doctor says you can use it, it is on a small surface area and the skin does not show signs of a broken epidermal barrier (no evidence of eczema or other similar conditions).

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Saran wrap over topical anesthetics can be deadly

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Do not let anyone wrap your face or body with saran wrap over a topical lidocaine or prilocaine anesthetic.  This "occludes" the area which means it concentrates the anesthetic more and increases its penetration into the skin.  There have been reported cases of deaths due to this however because sometimes the concentration of lidocaine gets so high it affects your heart and/or nervous system.  Small areas are probably safe but an entire face or part of your body (when used for laser hair removal for example) can be dangerous.

Lorrie Klein, MD
Laguna Niguel Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 216 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.