With advances in medicine changing every day, it’s no shock that science has come up with an alternative to hand surgery without the need for general anesthesia.
Known as the wide-awake local anesthesia no tourniquet procedure—WALANT for short—this technique revolutionizes how hand and wrist surgeries are performed for conditions such as:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- De Quervain’s tenosynovitis
- Tendon ruptures
- Trigger finger
WALANT is especially beneficial for patients who do not want to or are unable to undergo general anesthesia—either due to age and/or other medical issues—because of the risk of potential complications, including:
- Post-operative confusion
- Heart attack
WALANT allows surgeons to perform a number of procedures on the hand and wrist, including:
- Carpal tunnel release
- Excess tissue removal
- Tendon repair and replacement
- Trigger finger release
How is the WALANT technique performed?
What makes WALANT so unique is that medication has taken the place of the tourniquet to stop bleeding during the procedure; the tourniquet required that patients be placed under general anesthesia because it causes pain. The medications used are lidocaine, epinephrine and sodium bicarbonate. They block pain, stop bleeding during the procedure and buffer the solution to make it nearly painless.
Performed in a clinic setting, the area being operated on is numbed and thoroughly sterilized with cleaning solution while the patient sits comfortably and listens to music or watches television. Then, the appropriate surgical procedure is conducted. Patients can return home the same day and resume normal activity.
What are some of the benefits of WALANT?
As stated, the key differentiator of WALANT is that there is no general anesthesia. Let’s take a look at what that means for patients:
Faster Recovery Time
WALANT allows for a faster recovery time since only local anesthesia is involved and no grogginess is experienced afterwards. Patients will be able to go about their daily routine without the hassle of recovery afterwards.
No Fasting Is Required
With this technique, there is no need to limit your food or drink after a certain time before the procedure because general anesthesia isn’t involved.
A Lack of Certain Complications or Side Effects
Without general anesthesia or sedation, there are none of the typical side effects, such as nausea or dizziness.
WALANT offers patients additional benefits, such as:
It’s Safer for the Environment
Fun fact: Less medical waste is produced using WALANT.
No Pre-Anesthetic Evaluation
There’s no need for patients to be assessed for their anesthesia tolerance prior to the procedure. That means one less appointment to worry about making.
Less Time to Wait
Since there’s no need to wait for availability in an operating room schedule, patients can have their surgical procedure done sooner and in the comfort of an office or ambulatory surgical center.
Less Pain Afterwards
Without the use of a tourniquet on the upper arm—which is basically a blood pressure cuff—or an IV, patients experience significantly less pain and discomfort following their procedure.
The Leaders in Innovative Procedures
At University Orthopaedic Associates (UOA), we pride ourselves on utilizing only the best tools and technology the medical field has to offer. Our experienced surgeons offer patients the best possible care in a clean, comfortable environment and ensure that each individual’s quality of life is restored following each procedure or program.
Trust your hands in the hands of our specialists. For more information about WALANT or to see if it’s the right option for you, contact us today.Leave a reply →