Learn about a type of injection that may be used before surgery on the hand or fingers:
What is a Radial Nerve Block?
A Radial Nerve Block is a procedure used to numb your hand. This is accomplished by injecting your hand with a local anesthetic. This procedure specifically aims to numb the radial nerve. The radial nerve runs along the side of the forearm that the thumb is on, giving sensation to the back of the hand from the third finger to the thumb.
Who needs a Radial Nerve Block?
Radial nerve blocks are generally used when surgery is going to be performed on the fingers or hands. This procedure may be used at more than one location on the radial nerve block, but it may also be used in conjunction with other injections or blocks. Radial nerve blocks may be used before another surgical procedure as an anesthetic, but it may also be used to help ease pain after an operation.
What are the steps in a Radial Nerve Block?
Preparing for the Procedure
Once you've been placed in a position where your doctor has access to your wrist, the area is cleaned and sterilized.
Injecting the Anesthetic
Once preparation is complete, the doctor carefully inserts a needle into the wrist and through to the radial nerve. Once the needle is in place, the doctor injects anesthetic. This numbs the radial nerve and blocks sensation in the fingers and hand for several hours.
End of Procedure
Once the injection is complete, the needle will be removed and the radial nerve block will be complete. If surgery is to be performed on the hand or fingers, it would be performed at this point because the numbing effect of the anesthetic lasts for several hours.
This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, meaning that you may be able to leave the same day, depending on if any other procedures were performed. You may be prescribed pain medication to ease any pain felt after nerve block stop.