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Anesthesia with Hand Surgery

Anesthesia with Hand Surgery

Hand surgery can be important to address nerve injuries, joint problems, repetitive strain injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, fractures, soft tissue masses, and other problems. While you can find great relief through surgery for the hand, you will generally need some form of anesthetic medicine during the procedure. The anesthetic medicine is a way to suppress, prevent or control pain during a surgical procedure.

Hand surgery can be important to address nerve injuries, joint problems, repetitive strain injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, fractures, soft tissue masses, and other problems. While you can find great relief through surgery for the hand, you will generally need some form of anesthetic medicine during the procedure. The anesthetic medicine is a way to suppress, prevent or control pain during a surgical procedure.

There are different anesthetic options for patients seeking surgical procedures for the hand, including general, regional or local anesthetic. At Cold Spring Plastic Surgery, our skilled, board-certified hand surgeon can recommend the right type for your procedure, based on your own medical history, the type of surgery you are having and your preferences and comfort level.

General anesthetic

General anesthesia is the most complete form of an anesthetic; the patient is unconscious during the entire surgery and will feel nothing. General anesthetic medications may be delivered through an intravenous (IV) line or through inhalation through a face mask. This type of anesthetic can only be delivered in a surgery center or hospital, and an anesthesiologist must be present to administer the anesthetic and monitor the patient. A general anesthetic is used for some types of surgery for the hand in our NYC and Huntington, NY locations.

Local anesthetic

Local anesthetic, on the other hand, affects the smallest area. A medicine that numbs sensation in a particular area is injected where the surgery will take place. Throughout your surgical procedure, you will remain fully awake and able to interact with your surgeon, including moving your hand or individual fingers. The medication injected is intended to reduce bleeding and pain in the area. At the same time, you could receive additional relaxing medications via an IV line along with a local anesthetic.

A local anesthetic is a choice for small, simple procedures that can be performed quickly. Your surgeon can administer local anesthetic herself. However, it is less suitable for procedures that address a larger area of the hand.

Regional anesthesia

A regional anesthetic is a common choice for hand surgery, as it makes use of anesthetic medication to selectively block the sensation of the nerves in a specific area of the body. An anesthetic medication would be injected through a needle along the nerve path. Depending on the area that will be treated in the procedure, regional anesthetic medications may be administered at the neck or collarbone, under the arm, in the palm, in the finger or at the wrist. It can also be delivered through an arm IV, and an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist could add an additional medication for relaxation.

This type of anesthetic medication offers a number of advantages for NYC and Huntington surgery on the hand, including reducing the need for post-surgical pain medicine, faster recovery time and reduced nausea. With regional anesthetic, you will be awake during your surgery, although you will be unable to move or control your arm or hand. You will not be able to see the procedure being performed, as a large, sterile drape is used to shield the area where surgery is being performed from contamination or germs.

How does regional anesthetic feel?

A regional anesthetic is sometimes called a “nerve block” or “arm block” because it blocks all nerve sensation in the targeted arm or hand. In some cases, an ultrasound machine or other equipment may be used in order to find just the right location to administer the block. The process of administering the anesthetic can be uncomfortable. In general, you will start to receive IV relaxing medications before the block is placed in order to ease the feeling of the procedure. In some cases, your arm or hand muscles may twitch during administration due to the stimulation of the nerves involved.

How long does anesthetic medicine for surgery on the hand last?

When you go in for a surgical procedure for your hand in NYC or Huntington, the placement of the block will take around five to 15 minutes by itself. The medications will relieve pain for one hour up to 24 hours, depending on the type of anesthetic used in the procedure. You may also feel weakness in the affected nerves until the block wears off; this is a

temporary effect that lingers with the painkilling effects of the anesthetic. In addition, your hand surgeon will send you home with pain medication or deliver the back-up medication after your procedure.

Are there risks associated with anesthetics during your surgery?

There are always some risks associated with any type of anesthetic. In rare cases, the anesthetic medication may not fully relieve pain during surgery, and you may need additional medicine. Patients may also experience soreness at the injection site or a lingering tingle that goes away after a few days. Serious risks are very rare but include bleeding, infection or nerve injury. During the whole procedure, your surgeon and anesthetic professional will ask you about how you are feeling and how the procedure and the medication are working for you. It is important to honestly discuss or raise any concerns at the time in order to ensure the best results. Surgery on the hand can be life-changing for people suffering from injuries or damage to the area. When you are considering this type of surgery, make sure to choose an expert: a board-certified hand surgeon who has completed a fellowship in the specialty. At Cold Spring Plastic Surgery, our Doctors are board-certified in surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, and hand surgery. Contact us at 631-470-9650 to set up an appointment for a consultation at our Manhattan or Huntington, New York office.

Posted in: Hand Surgery