Expanding surgical capacity is very difficult in resource-constrained countries. Financial input and additional physical operating room space are needed. The surgical patient volume exists, but the lack of operating room time causes postponement of cases. Hand surgery is particularly important as it improves patient function and allows for a timely return to the workforce after injury. Some hand surgery cases may be performed under local anesthesia with a very basic instrument set in a procedure room
. This arrangement eliminates the need and financial burden of an equipped operating room and the need for an anesthesiologist. We hypothesized that performing hand surgery in a simple procedure room
by a surgeon with knowledge of adequate local anesthesia could increase hand surgery capacity significantly in a low-income country.
This technique has been instituted at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana, with the use of a single procedure room
that was previously used for storage. A surgeon trained in performing wide-awake local anesthesia no tourniquet technique visited Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and provided lectures about hand surgery under local anesthesia and evidence-based sterility for 6 years. The number and type of cases performed in the procedure room
were recorded for the first 11 months after it opened in 2017.
For 11 months, use of this room had increased surgical capacity by 33 cases per month. Patient ages ranged from 2 months to 65 years. There have been 358 total cases performed, 240 of which were hand cases. This included washout of hand wounds (n = 87), tendon repair (n = 54) including a single tendon transfer, fracture pinning (n = 33), amputations (n = 24), trigger finger repair (n = 10), nerve repair (n = 6), congenital hand surgery (n = 4), and other (n = 22). Cost savings per case in the procedure room
ranges from 500 cedis (US $100) to 2000 cedis (US $400).
The simple procedure room
runs more efficiently and is less costly compared with the main operating rooms. Although the case volume has increased surgical capacity significantly, costs to the hospital and patient have decreased. The hospital is reimbursed in a timely fashion for the procedures directly by the patient using this technique. The creation of a single procedure room
for wide-awake local anesthesia no tourniquet hand surgery has helped address the issues of inadequate operating room space, time, and expense in resource-constrained Ghana.