Investigation of Perioperative Anaphylaxis

Intradermal Skin Testing

Skin testing is the technique for identifying which substance caused your reaction. It is the most important element of investigation of peri-operative anaphylaxis.

It is recommended in all cases where anaphylaxis is suspected. Surgery should not take place until suspected reactions have been thoroughly investigated.




Skin testing is used by many different kinds of doctors to investigate all different types of allergy. It can be used to diagnose allergies to foods, pollens, insect venoms and many other allergens, including medicines.

It is a very old and well-established technique used all over the world. It is a very safe test with few risks when performed by experienced doctors. It is a very reliable test with only a small margin of error. 

Skin testing involves the injection of very diluted amounts of different drugs into the skin on the back and looking for a reaction to form around the injection site if the body has an allergy to the drug.

Minimal drug enters the bloodstream, so the risk of a repeat reaction is very low. Injections of all potential drug triggers are injected, marked with pen, and then measured at 15-20 minutes after injection. 

Clinical photographs will be taken of the section of skin being tested. A complete session of skin testing takes around 60-120 minutes. Before doing any skin testing, the doctor will explain the testing process to you, explain the risks of testing and the risks of not testing, and explain the meaning of different test results. 

Prior to attending QARC, you will be given information about preparing for the testing session and advice on medications you will need to cease beforehand.