Background: Bier block provides anesthesia of an entire extremity distal to the tourniquet without necessitating direct injection at the surgical site. This avoids obscuring anatomy with local anesthetic and anesthetizes a wide area, allowing for multiple procedures and incisions. We hypothesize that a low-volume Bier block with forearm tourniquet, rather than a traditional brachial tourniquet, is a safe, well-tolerated, and effective anesthesia technique. Methods: All cases in which adult patients underwent hand procedures using Bier block anesthesia by a single surgeon over a 4-year period were reviewed. Data collected included patient demographics, procedure(s) performed, complications, tourniquet time and settings, procedure and in-room time, and supplemental medications administered. Results: In all, 319 patients were included, 103 from a university hospital and 216 from an ambulatory surgery center. The most commonly performed procedures were carpal tunnel release (205 cases) and trigger digit release (83 cases). Most patients received a 125-mg dose of lidocaine for the Bier block; many also received additional sedatives. Twenty-three patients received no additional medications. No patients required conversion to general anesthesia. One complication (0.3%) occurred, with paresthesias and tinnitus that resolved without intervention. The average tourniquet time was 24 minutes (SD = 4.3 minutes). Patients were discharged at a median of 49 minutes postoperatively, and 9.1% of patients received supplemental analgesics prior to discharge. Conclusions: Regional anesthesia achieved with a forearm tourniquet and intravenous local anesthetic provides adequate pain control, permits timely discharge home, and has a low complication rate. It should be considered for use in outpatient hand procedures.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine