Having a general anaesthetic is not always necessary for some operations, especially for hand or arm procedures. One option is a “regional block” anaesthetic which blocks major nerve pathways to a region of the body where the surgery is to take place.
Anaesthetist Clare Smith says a group of anaesthetists at Waikato Hospital have developed a “block service” to provide regional anaesthesia to Waikato people.
This was a great option for Alisha Wilson, who was due for thumb surgery.
After a few general anaesthetics as a child and now requiring thumb surgery as a young adult, Alisha was keen to investigate ways to have her thumb operation without needing a general anaesthetic.
Before coming to theatre for her first thumb operation she researched regional anaesthesia online, including watching some Youtube videos, so when she presented for her thumb surgery Alisha was keen to discuss having a regional anaesthetic.
This is something Waikato Hospital provides through its Waikato Regional Anaesthesia and Analgesia (WRAAS) service.
Recently Alisha came back to Waikato Hospital for her second thumb operation, and because she had such a positive experience the first time, she was keen to have another regional anaesthetic, which Simon Davis one of Waikato Hospital’s senior anaesthetic trainees was able to provide.
“We need to assess each case, but we are keen to provide the least invasive anaesthetic that is effective and safe for each patient. Regional blocks are an anaesthetic technique we are becoming very skilled at, thanks to the focus of the Regional Anaesthesia and Analgesia service,” Clare Smith says.