Wide-awake hand surgery allows patients to remain awake and pain-free during innovative procedure | Ascension

Wide-awake hand surgery allows patients to remain awake and pain-free during innovative procedure

Samantha Miller knew something was wrong with her right hand when she experienced constant numbness and kept dropping items.

Miller was diagnosed with carpal tunnel, numbness and tingling in the hand and arm that is caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist. When her symptoms worsened a year later, she consulted with Dr. Cory Lebowitz, orthopedic surgeon at Ascension Medical Group Sacred Heart Hand Center at Summit. Dr. Lebowitz ordered a nerve study test to analyze the severity of her carpal tunnel and determine the best treatment options.

Before offering a surgical intervention, Dr. Lebowitz recommended steroid injections. However, Miller wanted “a more permanent fix.” “I was more nervous about getting a serious nerve block in my hand than having surgery,” Miller said.

Dr. Lebowitz recommended Wide-Awake Local Anesthesia No Tourniquet (WALANT), a surgical technique that uses local anesthesia and hemostatic agents to allow patients to remain awake and pain-free during the innovative procedure. In most cases, the patient can drive to and from the surgery, and without dietary restrictions the night before the procedure.

After the successful completion of her surgery, Miller recalled that at her first follow-up appointment she “had almost all [her] mobility in [her] hand back. Doing chores, activities with my kids, and daily life tasks were difficult before…and it is no problem now,” she said.

Miller said people who are experiencing pain from carpal tunnel shouldn’t wait for the surgery. “There is no reason to remain in pain because you are nervous,” she said. “All my fears were instantly at ease after the surgery and I will not hesitate if I have to do another [Walant] surgery.”

Miller was also impressed with the office team. “The office staff were very friendly and nice, and I had a great experience with all of them. Dr. Lebowitz is personable, calm, and kind. He has a way of making you feel relaxed even if you are apprehensive at first.”