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Our hand specialists at The Hand & Wrist Center provide a variety of premier solutions for anesthesia for many of our procedures. The goal of anesthesia for procedures involving the upper extremity is to provide the most comfortable and safe experience for the patient during surgery. We provide various options available to customize for each patient’s particular needs. The following are some of the various anesthetic techniques commonly utilized when performing surgery on the hand and wrist:
Local Anesthesia is the simplest anesthetic technique is to inject local anesthetics directly into the site where a procedure will be performed. This is commonly used for simple, small operations, which can be performed quickly. Advantages of local anesthesia include quick onset, minimal expense, and simplicity. For select patients, intravenous sedatives can also be provided by an anesthesiologist.
Hematoma Blocks are most commonly utilized for distal radius fractures. A useful technique in providing anesthesia for certain fractures and involves injecting anesthesia directly into the fracture site and numbs the bone. This technique allows for the procedure to take place with minimal discomfort. Similar to local anesthesia, this procedure can be performed without sedation in an office, clinic, or outpatient surgical setting.
Regional Anesthesia utilizes medications to selectively block the sensory function of specific nerves in the extremities of hand, wrist, and lower arm.
- Digital blocks are a simple and quick method to anesthetize individual fingers and the thumb for many small procedures. These can provide rapid anesthesia to select digits, which is useful for many simple office and outpatient surgical procedures.
- Wrist blocks are based upon the anatomy of the three nerves at the wrist level. Local blocks can be given at the site where these three nerves enter the wrist to provide anesthesia for specific procedures in the hand and digits.
- Intravenous (IV) regional anesthesia is a technique whereby local anesthesia medication is injected provides anesthesia to the whole arm. Intravenous regional anesthesia is commonly preferred for routine hand and wrist surgeries because it is well tolerated, safe, reliable, and has a rapid onset.
- Axillary Block anesthesia is a technique which can also provide anesthesia to the whole arm. This technique may provide adequate anesthesia for the entire upper extremity for several hours – allowing many complex surgical procedures to be performed. Axillary blocks are commonly used in providing lasting pain relief for many hours following extensive surgical procedures.
General Anesthesia is also utilized for many hand surgical procedures. Contemporary techniques are used to safely put the patient in a state of unconsciousness, often on an outpatient basis. General anesthesia requires an anesthesiologist and monitoring, and for all of The Hand & Wrist Center must be performed in a surgery center or hospital setting.