Patients are staying awake during shoulder and elbow operations at a Teesside hospital, using innovative anaesthetic techniques to speed up recovery times.
Patients can go home the same day and suffer none of the after-effects of general anaesthesia.
It’s thought that general wear and tear caused the pain over the years, but having some health problems increased the risk if he was to have a general anaesthetic for his operation.
Keyhole surgery was carried out at the University Hospital of North Tees by consultant orthopaedic surgeon Mr Rajesh Nanda and the experienced theatre team to repair the damage caused to Malcolm’s shoulder.
Consultant anaesthetist Dr Austin Mathews, who performed the nerve block, said: “Having the surgery performed under a nerve block alone avoids the risks of a general anaesthetic and patients don’t experience the side effects such as nausea and vomiting. It also provides excellent pain relief for many hours after the operation. The faster recovery times mean that patients are discharged much quicker.”
“It is a highly skilled and safe procedure. We use an ultrasound scanner to make sure that the nerve block is done safely and effectively, so that the patient remains completely pain free during the operation. During the procedure we can administer a low dose of sedative to keep the patient calm. But, the patient remains awake and can watch the operation being performed on the screen if they wish to.
“As a team of highly skilled anaesthetists and surgeons, we’re now trying to offer more patients this choice. Previously the only option for the patient would be to have a general anaesthetic which has a high risk for people with health problems and patients often worry about complications.”
Consultant orthopaedic shoulder and elbow surgeon, Mr Richard Jeavons said: “This is fantastic news for our patients that the way we carry out surgery is now so advanced. Patient safety is our priority so we’re always looking at ways to minimise the risks for patients and improve their experience.”
The innovative method of treatment, introduced and developed within the shoulder and elbow unit at the University Hospital of North Tees by Mr Jeavons and Dr Mathews has been well received by patients; a recent patient survey showed extremely high satisfaction with the awake surgery experience, with all those surveyed stating they would recommend awake shoulder surgery to friends and family.
Sitting up chatting, with a cup of coffee after the operation, Malcolm said: “I feel absolutely fine. During the operation I had no pain, I could just feel movement. If anyone else is having an operation like this, I would definitely recommend having it done this way. The care I have received has been fantastic.”