SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The thought of being awake while having surgery can sound terrifying for some people.
But that’s exactly what’s happening for some patients at Sanford Health.
Preparing for surgery typically means no food or drinks before going under anesthesia, and afterwards waking up groggy from a procedure. But for Bob Preloger that wasn’t the case at all.
“As a matter of fact you know you can have a conversation with the doctor during the procedure and so it’s very relaxed, little bit of music on, and it is a relatively simple process,” Preloger said.
Simple might sound hard to believe, but that’s exactly how Dr. Robert Van Demark describes it.
“So it’s called wide awake anesthesia and we use lidocaine with epinephrine, the same medications that are used by the dentists,” Van Demark said.
He says it’s most commonly used for hand or wrist surgeries, mainly carpal tunnel, trigger fingers and tendonitis.
Preloger says he was experiencing harsh pain from both carpal tunnel and trigger fingers, which is what brought him to Van Demark.
“It went great. It was super, it was quick, the recover was super, and not a problem at all,” Preloger said.
While the thought of being awake during a surgery can sound scary for some, he says there’s nothing to be afraid of.
“You feel a little bit of pressure but the nerves are deadened and so you don’t feel any pain. Just a little bit of pressure, a little discomfort but when you’re done you’re done,” Preloger said.
Experts say when given the option, more patients have been choosing this over traditional anesthesia since it became available at Sanford in 2015.
“Once people have had surgery in the hospital with the anesthesia, and then they have it this way there’s no comparison between the two. You won’t go back to the hospital,” Van Demark said.
Wide awake anesthesia offers various benefits for patients who choose it over traditional anesthesia, such as a faster recovery with less side effects.
To read more about what procedures this can be used for, click here.