A randomised trial has found that fast bandaid removal is less painful to healthy young adults than slow bandaid removal, according to a report published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
Operators applied medium-sized bandaids to 65 Second and Third Year medical students at James Cook University and removed the bandaids using slow and fast techniques. The students were asked to rate their pain using an 11-point scoring system, with 0 representing "no pain" and 10 representing "worst pain imaginable".
"The average overall pain score for fast bandaid removal was 0.92 and for slow bandaid removal was 1.58. The average overall pain scores for women were significantly lower than for men (0.91 compared to 1.64). This may be due to higher pain tolerance, although men did tend to have more body hair," study co-author Dr Carl O'Kane said.
"A high body hair score was, not surprisingly, associated with higher pain scores, and it seemed that preconceptions about pain also had an appreciable effect.
"The pain experience is a complex and incompletely understood process that incorporates many aspects of patients' social and cultural beliefs, as well as previous experiences. Our observation that preconceptions were associated with pain scores should therefore not be surprising."
Students with wounds, documented or suspected allergies to adhesive dressings, chronic pain, or anxiety disorders were excluded from the study.
"These results would not be applicable to patients with wounds, particularly chronic wounds and ulcers, which may adhere to bandaids, or other simple dressings. Our sample consisted of healthy young adults and our results may not be applicable to other age groups such as children and older people," Dr O'Kane said.
Dr O'Kane said students who were tested by one of the two operators reported higher pain levels than those tested by the other operator.
"This may indicate that there are skilled bandaid removers and less-skilled or unskilled bandaid removers," he said.
The Medical Journal of Australia
is a publication of the Australian Medical Association.