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Date: 7 May 2021

Time: 16:47

Hand surgery anaesthetic team

Our anaesthetic team is made up of consultant anaesthetists, trainees who rotate through the department and anaesthetic physicians assistants (PAs).

As the vast majority of the surgeries undertaken by the Hand Unit surgeons at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) are below the elbow they are able to be performed under axillary blocks.

The use of axillary blocks is a technique where the patient stays awake and the arm is numbed by some injections under the armpit. The patient does not feel any pain within the arm during the operation and it will remain numb for up to 12 hours. Using this technique means that patients recover much more quickly, and there are no sickly feelings or sore throats often associated with general anaesthetics (being put to sleep). In addition, patients can ask questions during the operation if they like and be told post-operative instructions at the end of the case when they are alert and more likely to remember the information provided.

All blocks are performed in a purpose-made block area where patients can wait until the arm is completely numb. We also have a number of iPads to watch programmes or listen to music on before and during the procedures.

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