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Epinephrine in Local Anesthesia in Finger and Hand Surgery: The Case for Wide-awake Anesthesia

Donald Lalonde J Am Acad Orthop Surg. Vol 21 Nº 8 August 2013

Traditionally, surgeons were taught that local anesthesia containing epinephrine should not be injected into fingers. This idea has since been refuted in many basic and clinical scientific studies, and today, injection of lidocaine plus epinephrine is widely used for digital and hand anesthesia in Canada. The key advantages of the wide-awake technique include the creation of a bloodless field without the use of an arm tourniquet, which in turn reduces the need for conscious sedation. The use of local anesthesia permits active motion intraoperatively, which is particularly helpful in tenolysis, flexor tendon repairs, and setting the tension on tendon transfers. Additional benefits of wide-awake anesthesia include efficiencies and cost savings in outpatient surgical case flow due to the absence of conscious sedation.

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