Sanford is using a new carpal tunnel surgery option that keeps patients awake in the OR

New carpal tunnel surgery option keeps patients awake in the OR
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FARGO — If you are one of those who has battled carpal tunnel in the wrist, you know the discomfort.

And while surgery is often used to fix the problem, few of us like the anesthesia, or missing work.

Now Sanford is using a surgical procedure that allows patients to drive themselves home, minutes after the repair.


Mari Kvam is getting ready for the operating room, but no hospital gown, and no sleepy anesthesia. Just a little numbing agent to her right wrist before going under the knife for carpal tunnel surgery.

“Over the years, I noticed tightness in my forearm and then I could no longer button buttons or put earrings on,” Kvam said.

Once scrubbed in hand surgeon Dr. Jon Norberg is using a method called WALANT, which stands for wide awake local anesthesia, no tourniquet.

It is more efficient, and saves the patient a lot of time and hassle.

“So doing a procedure that is out patient that you can drive yourself to, and drive yourself home from and stay on regular medications and you don't have to skip breakfast,” said Dr. Norberg.

It also saves on cost. Doctors need fewer staff, nobody is going to sleep and it means less waste of supplies in the OR that end up in the landfill.

For Kvam a ten minute surgery for carpal tunnel and done.

Not long after she arrived Kvam heads home, no reason to wait for a ride home. Unlike the old way, Kvam is able to drive herself home.


But this method is not preferred by all patients. Some don't want to be awake at all doing the procedure, and prefer sedation.

Related Topics: HEALTH
Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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