Open reduction and internal fixation of ankle fracture using wide-awake local anaesthesia no tourniquet technique.


Department of Orthopedics, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, No. 386, Dazhong 1st Rd., Zuoying Dist., Kaohsiung City, 81362, Taiwan, ROC. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : Ankle fractures frequently occur and must be treated with open reduction for long-term stability. The existing anaesthesia methods include general anaesthesia, spinal and epidural anaesthesia, peripheral nerve block and local anaesthesia with IV sedation. However, each method has its inherent risks and potential costs, and the use of a tourniquet is inevitable. Therefore, the wide-awake local anaesthesia no tourniquet (WALANT) technique provides an alternative method for equivalent haemostasis and pain control without the use of a tourniquet.
METHODS : We prospectively enrolled 13 consecutive patients (9 males and 4 females) who presented ankle fractures and required ORIF from January 2017 to December 2017. The fracture types of the 13 patients included lateral malleolar fracture (three patients), bimalleolar fracture (two patients), bimalleolar equivalent fracture (three patients), medial malleolar fracture (two patients) and trimalleolar fracture (three patients; articular surface involvement <25%). We used a solution of 1% lidocaine mixed with 1:40,000 epinephrine for WALANT.
RESULTS : All patients underwent surgery if they exhibited an initial numerical pain rating scale (NPRS) score of 0 without using a tourniquet. Only two patients required an additional 5 ml of local anaesthesia due to NPRS score elevation during the surgery; no dose exceeded the safe limit of 7 mg/kg. No local complications occurred, and no shifts to other anaesthesia methods were required due to the failure of WALANT.
CONCLUSIONS : WALANT simplified surgical preparations and provided a safe and reliable method for ankle fracture management. Because the use of a tourniquet was not required, reduced postsurgical pain was observed. Moreover, the use of local anaesthesia resulted in more satisfied patients and facilitated easier recovery.