About the Service
Patients undergoing orthopaedic or fracture surgery to either the upper or lower limb can be safely and effectively anaesthetised using a nerve block. Another term for using nerve blocks to allow surgery to take place is called ‘Regional Anaesthesia’. Regional anaesthesia techniques use an ultrasound probe to direct a needle close to a nerve so that local anaesthetic can be injected around this area to cause numbness for surgery to take place.
The advantages of regional anaesthesia are that surgery can proceed without requiring a general anaesthetic, heavy sedation and morphine-like drugs which can cause side-effects of nausea, vomiting, constipation and itch. Patients undergoing a regional anaesthesia technique have proven higher satisfaction, better pain control after surgery and a shorter time spent in recovery and hospital.
During the operation patients have the option of listening to music, using a tablet computer or receiving sedation to relax.
Regional Anaesthesia Video
How to access the Service
Regional anaesthesia is available to most patients undergoing surgery to the upper or lower limb. If you are having an operation involving upper limb areas including elbow, forearm, wrist or hand or lower limb areas such as foot and ankle you can ask your orthopaedic surgeon about a regional anaesthetic technique.
Most of these operations can be done using just the nerve block to freeze your arm or leg in addition to sedation which can be given to the desired effect.
There are very few patients who are not suitable for a regional anaesthetic technique. It is safer and more preferable for patients who are at high risk for a general anaesthetic (e.g. those with severe heart or lung disease).
For patients taking blood thinning medication (e.g. Warfarin, Clopidogrel, Apixaban, Dabigatran, Rivaroxaban etc.) special advice about stopping these tablets in a timely fashion can be given. Nerve blocks are not usually performed for patients if these medications have been continued.
Location of Service
The regional anaesthesia service is established in Musgrave Park Hospital for patients undergoing hand and upper limb orthopaedic surgery.
On meeting your surgeon at the outpatient clinic, they may mention to you about undergoing surgery using a nerve block. If you have any questions or concerns, please refer to our information leaflet.
If you are undergoing surgery in Musgrave, you will be invited to attend a pre-operative assessment clinic appointment. More comprehensive details will be provided here by anaesthetists experienced in regional anaesthesia. You will have the opportunity to view the patient information video and a one-on-one encounter with the anaesthetist to address any specific concerns. Your medications will also be reviewed and written instructions given to direct you regarding what medications to take coming up to surgery.
Development of a regional anaesthesia service for trauma and fracture surgery in the Royal Victoria Hospital is currently underway.
Contact telephone number for Musgrave Park Hospital Anaesthetic department – 02895046909
Have you got questions about this service? Your question may be answered in the service FAQ.