Wide Awake Hand Surgery | Benefits & Treatment | MedStar Health

MedStar Health is proud to offer wide awake hand surgery. Our experienced surgeons offer you the comprehensive care you need for an effective procedure and a successful recovery. Our surgeons are fellowship-trained in hand surgery and specialize exclusively in caring for upper extremity conditions. Our primary goal is to get you back to your regular activities and to restore the function of your hand.

What is wide awake hand surgery?

This technique is used to treat hand conditions without requiring general anesthesia or sedation. As the name suggests, this surgery is done without the use of anesthesia and you can remain awake during the entire procedure. You will not feel pain during surgery because your surgeon will apply a numbing solution to the hand. You will not see surgery (there will be a surgical drape up), and you will remain comfortable during the procedure while being fully conscious. There is no need for presurgical bloodwork or medical clearance appointments, and there is no need for an IV to be placed. You benefit from the lower risk by avoiding anesthesia, and you can eat and drink the day of surgery.

What does wide awake hand surgery involve?

Before the procedure, your orthopedic surgeon will inject a local anesthetic into the affected hand, making sure that the area is completely numb before beginning the procedure. Depending on the hand or wrist condition you are suffering from, the specific techniques used during the procedure will vary. Some of the possible surgical procedures that may be used include:

What does recovery involve?

After surgery, your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to care for your hand and wrist during your recovery. Depending on your specific condition and personal needs, our specialists at MedStar Health may recommend one or more of the following:

  • Ice

  • Rest

  • Physical therapy

  • Limiting arm, wrist, and hand movement

  • Cast, bandaging, or sling

What are the benefits?

The benefits include:

  • Avoiding the risks associated with anesthesia

  • Avoiding the potential side effects of anesthesia (i.e., nausea, dizziness, confusion)

  • You can eat and drink the day of surgery

  • You may not need to have someone with you to take you home (depending on your procedure)

  • You can participate in your surgery to improve your outcome (such as testing your tendon repair or your trigger finger release at the time of surgery to ensure success)

The benefits of visiting MedStar Health for your hand surgery include:

  • Hand pain relief

  • Improved dexterity following recovery

  • Ability to return to normal activities following rehabilitation

  • Improved range of motion in the hand and wrist

Why is wide awake hand surgery performed?

It’s performed to make the process of minor hand surgery easier for you. You save time by avoiding appointments for pre-surgical testing and medical clearance, and you can eat and drink the day of surgery. In addition, wide awake surgery is often performed to help your surgeon ensure quality outcomes (such as during tendon repairs). For example, by being awake and pain-free during the surgery, you can participate by moving your finger and testing a tendon repair for the surgeon.