Wide awake and surgery
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Hand Surgery Asian-Pacific Volume.. 2017, 22 (3), 292-296. 10.1142/S0218810417500320
Background: “Wide awake hand surgery”, where surgery is performed in local anaesthesia with adrenaline, without sedation or a tourniquet, has become widespread in some countries. It has a number of potential advantages and we wished to evaluate it among our patients. Methods: All 122 patients treated by this method during one year were evaluated by the surgeons and the patients on a numerical scale from 0 (best/least) to 10 (worst/most). Theatre time was compared to that recorded for a year when regional or general anaesthesia had been used. Results: The patients’ mean score for the general care they had received was 0.1 (SD 0.6), for pain during lidocaine injection 2.4 (SD 2.2), for pain during surgery 0.9 (SD 1.5), and for other discomfort during surgery 0.5 (SD 1.4). Eight reported that they would want general anaesthesia if they were to be operated again. The surgeons’ mean evaluation of bleeding during surgery was 1.6 (SD 1.8), oedema during surgery 0.4 (SD 1.1), general disadvantages with the method 1.0 (SD 1.6) and general advantages 6.5 (SD 4.3). The estimation of advantages was 9.9 (DS 0.5) for tendon suture. 28 patients needed intra-operative additional anaesthesia. The proportion was lower among trained hand surgeons and fell significantly during the study period. Non-surgical theatre time was 46 (SD 15) minutes during the study period and 55 (SD 22) minutes during the regional/general period (p < 0.001). This gain was cancelled out by a longer surgery time during the wide awake period. Conclusions: Wide awake surgery is fully acceptable to most patients. It has a number of advantages over general or regional anaesthesia, but we feel it is unlikely to improve the efficiency of the operating theatre.