Positive patient experience of wide awake local anaesthesia no tourniquet (WALANT) hand surgery in the government setting: a prospective descriptive study
Keywords:WALANT, hand surgery, trigger finger, carpal tunnel release
Background: The purpose of this study was to establish a subjective patient experience with wide awake local anaesthesia no tourniquet (WALANT) procedures performed in the institution from May 2019 to March 2020. WALANT surgery was initiated to improve standard operating procedure and to decrease theatre burden.
Methods: This prospective, descriptive study included 100 patients with a mean age of 59 years who required either a carpal tunnel or trigger finger release. The patients’ pain experience was documented on the visual analogue scale (VAS) for the local anaesthetic injection and the surgical procedure. Overall experience was assessed on the patient’s preference to have the procedure performed by the WALANT method or the conventional method.
Results: One hundred patients were included, of which 67 had medical comorbidities. The mean VAS score was 1.5 (SD±1.6) with pain on injection. The mean VAS pain score during the surgical procedure was 0.2 (SD±0.7). One hundred per cent of patients (100/100) felt they would do the WALANT outpatient procedure again instead of admission to hospital and surgery in the theatre. Two complications occurred related to wound care problems, and were successfully managed. None of the patients required reoperations for incomplete release of the carpal tunnel or trigger finger surgery.
Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that minor hand surgery using the WALANT protocol can be performed effectively and with high patient satisfaction rates in the orthopaedic outpatient clinic, and is a useful tool in the skillset of a hand surgeon.
Level of evidence: Level 4