Wide-awake surgery: Dudley Creek Health

The world of surgery has experienced a paradigm shift with the wide-awake surgery procedure called ‘WALANT’ (Wide Awake Local Anaesthetic No Tourniquet). Since the Covid pandemic, wide-awake surgery has become increasingly popular across the world.

For this procedure, local anaesthetic and adrenaline are administered to patients undergoing surgery without the requirement of conventional general anaesthesia.

The safety, effectiveness and significant advantages of wide-awake surgery are well established and include:

  • low infection rates
  • less discomfort, less stress, and greater convenience for patients
  • patients not being required to fast prior to surgery.
  • patients not requiring blood tests and other special investigations prior to surgery
  • hospitals and treatment centres being able to perform surgery more efficiently in terms of time, cost, materials, and personnel
  • less clinical waste and a reduction in the carbon footprint of health care

Most importantly, with the patient being awake, there is increased opportunity for the patient to communicate with the surgeon and care team to confirm that the immediate outcome objectives of the surgery have been achieved.

A number of hand conditions are amenable to wide awake surgery such as:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – affects up to 10% of the population and up to 10% of diabetic patients.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome – the second most common nerve compression in the upper limb. This manifests in compression at the elbow of the ulna nerve (colloquially termed the ‘funny-bone’).
Ganglion Cysts – the most common hand lesion commonly presenting as a lump on the front or the back of the wrist/hand.
Lipoma – fatty growth beneath the skin or between muscles, which may cause symptoms of pain and dysfunction.

Dupuytren’s Disease – more common in men than women and manifesting as a progressive tethering of tissues beneath the skin of the palm and fingers.
Trigger Finger – resulting in debilitating pain and the catching and locking of affected fingers.
Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow – a common cause of elbow pain affecting up to 3% of adults often engaged in the use of heavy tools, repeated lifting, and gripping activities.
De Quervain’s Disease – most common in women and associated with golf, racquet sports, and gardening. This manifests as pain and swelling just above the wrist in line with the thumb.

Dudley Creek Health is a purpose-built treatment centre in Christchurch, streamlined to provide the most favourable patient experience. It is a fully accredited and licensed day-stay surgery and treatment centre, with two state-of-the-art wide-awake operating theatres, consulting rooms with specialist staff and on-site hand therapy and radiology providers. Dudley Creek Health has been providing Wide Awake Surgery (WALANT) for the past year with great success.


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