By Dr. John Kadzielski


Do you need surgery on your hand but are nervous about being put to sleep? If so, look no further than Wide-Awake Surgery with Local Anesthesia. That’s right, South Shore Orthopedics offers surgery performed without the use of general anesthesia or any of the side effects that come accompany it, such as nausea or vomiting. The benefit to our patients? Less pre-op hassle, easier recovery, decreased costs, and you can drive yourself home from surgery!

What is Wide-Awake Surgery?

Wide-Awake Surgery is a new advancement in the field of hand and upper extremity operations. Through the use of a combination of lidocaine and epinephrine injected locally, hand surgery can now be performed with the patient remaining awake during the procedure. The lidocaine provides numbing to the site so that no pain is experienced during the procedure and the epinephrine works to decrease blood flow to the area, eliminating the need for a tourniquet. The result is a virtuallysa pain-free, wide-awake experience.

What Can Be Expected the Day of Surgery?

Even though you will be awake during the procedure, it is best to know what to expect during surgery in order to calm your nerves and best prepare. Below is a step-by-step outline of what you can expect the day of your wide-awake surgery:

  • On the day of surgery, you will arrive at 2 Pond Park’s Surgery Center at your scheduled time. When the team is ready, you will be wheeled into the operating room, much like if you were receiving general anesthesia. Because you will be awake, a nurse will be at your side the entire time.
  • You will then be hooked up to monitors so that we can track both your blood pressure and oxygen levels during surgery.
  • A topical skin cleaning solution will be applied to the surgical site. This solution is orange in color and will remain on your skin for a few days following surgery to decrease the risk of infection. Do not try to remove this solution.
  • When ready to begin, your hand surgeon will administer the local anesthesia. A curtain will block your view of the procedure and help keep the surgical field sterile.
  • Once you are numb, your surgery will begin. Rest assured that your hand surgeon and nurse will explain each step in the procedure as they go along. It is possible you may feel pressure and/or pulling during the procedure.
  • If needed, more local anesthesia can be administered to help with any discomfort. If necessary, a tourniquet may be used to help control bleeding.
  • When the surgery is complete, a dressing will be applied to the surgical site.

Because general anesthesia is not used, in most cases the patient is free to return home or to work following the procedure. Please note that your surgical site will remain numb for the rest of the day, and in some cases until the following morning.

Learn More

If you are interested in learning more about Wide-Awake Surgery, we invite you to explore South Shore Orthopedics. Our expert hand surgeons have been performing more Wide-Awake procedures than ever before and would welcome the opportunity to learn more about your condition to determine if you are a candidate for the procedure. Request an appointment today!