Wide Awake Hand Surgery
What is wide awake hand surgery?
Wide Awake Local Anesthesia No Tourniquet (WALANT) is a surgical technique for minor hand surgery procedures that does not require a visit to the hospital or operating room.
These procedures are performed in a minor procedure room at our Plymouth Office.
This alternative to traditional surgical techniques allows a surgeon to operate while you are awake. Rather than getting general anesthesia that “knocks you out” during the procedure, your hand is numbed with injections, such as epinephrine combined with lidocaine
Benefits of Wide Awake Surgery
No General Anesthesia
While being awake during a surgical procedure could seem daunting for some, it has key benefits. You’re able to communicate with your surgeon throughout the procedure. You can ask questions, and the surgeon can describe each step, as well as discuss recovery and follow-up.
Many people are anxious about or at high risk for complications from sedation and general anesthesia. WALANT allows you to avoid these complications and postoperative side effects of sedation, such as nausea or grogginess.
The procedure, preparation and recovery take less time, since you’re not being sedated. You don’t have to undergo preoperative medical screening, saving you from making additional appointments.
On the day of your surgery, you can take all your medications, eat and drink as usual and drive yourself to and from the appointment. It’s also less expensive because there are no operating room or general anesthesia fees.
WALANT does not require the use of a tourniquet. Think about the last time you had your blood pressure checked and how uncomfortable the cuff felt when it was fully inflated. Now imagine that discomfort lasting for 15 to more than 60 minutes caused by the tourniquet used to minimize bleeding during surgery. This intense pressure is not only painful during the procedure but you may also experience tourniquet pain in your arm following surgery. WALANT avoids the use of a tourniquet in the majority of cases.
With WALANT, bleeding is controlled with epinephrine, which numbs the area and constricts blood vessels. The anesthetic typically is injected about 20 to 25 minutes before the procedure to allow adequate constriction.
Same Surgery & Recovery
On the day of your surgery, your surgeon will discuss the procedure with you. Then the surgical site is numbed. While the numbing medication takes effect, you can relax and recline in a chair in the procedure room and watch TV or listen to music.
After the area is numb, your hand and arm are thoroughly washed with a cleaning solution to decrease the chances of infection. The procedure is done using the same sterile techniques used in the operating room.
Since the surgery itself isn’t changing, you’ll have the same postoperative instructions and rehabilitation process.