Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research (2021-03-01)

Application of WALANT technique for repairing finger skin defect with a random skin flap

  • Jianhua Xu,
  • Lu Yin,
  • Shuming Cao,
  • Haihua Zhan,
  • Jianbing Zhang,
  • Qiang Zhou,
  • Ketong Gong

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 16, no. 1
pp. 1 – 8


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Abstract Background Wide-awake local anesthesia no tourniquet (WALANT) technique has emerged among hand surgeons with other indications. Surgeries involving pedicled flap and revascularization are no longer used as contraindications. The present study aimed to evaluate the feasibility and merits of the WALANT technique in random skin flap surgery. Methods From May 2018 to March 2019, 12 patients with finger skin defects repaired with random skin flaps were reviewed. Abdominal skin flaps or thoracic skin flaps were used to cover the wound. Both the fingers and the donor sites were anesthetized by the WALANT technique. A 40-mL conventional volume consisted of a mixture of epinephrine and lidocaine. A volume of 5 mL was injected at the distal palmar for nerve block, the other 5 mL was injected around the wound for hemostasis, and the remaining was injected at the donor site of flaps for both analgesia and hemostasis. Baseline data with respect to sex, age, side, type of finger, donor sites, flap size, dosage of anesthetics, usage of finger tourniquet, intraoperative and postoperative pain, hemostasis effect, operation time, Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand Questionnaire (QuickDASH) score, and hospitalization expense, were collected. Results All patients tolerated the procedure, and none of them needed sedation. Single finger skin defect in 8 patients and double finger skin defect occurred in 4 patients; 5 patients were repaired by abdominal skin flaps, and 7 patients were repaired by thoracic skin flaps. The good surgical field visibility was 91.7%. All flaps survived adequately, without necrosis, pulling fingers out, and other complications. The average visual analog scale (VAS) score of the maximal pain was 1.1 in fingers vs. 2.1 in donor sites during the operation. On postoperative day one, the average VAS score of the maximal pain in fingers and donor sites was 1.3 and 1.1, respectively. The average hospitalization expense before reimbursement of the whole treatment was 11% less expensive compared to the traditional method. The average QuickDASH score was 9.1. Conclusions Under wide-awake anesthesia, patients have the ability to control their injured upper extremities consciously, avoiding the complications due to pulling flap pedicles. With the merits of safety, painlessness, less bleeding, and effectivity, the WALANT technique in random skin flaps is feasible and a reliable alternative to deal with finger skin defect.