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Tourniquet Paralysis

William K. Hamilton, MD; Martin D. Sokoll, MD
JAMA. 1967;199(1):37. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120010081019.
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Two cases are presented to illustrate a complication which understandably could happen in spite of attention and precautions.

The first patient was a man undergoing surgical therapy for Dupuytren's contracture. During performance of axillary block, median nerve paresthesias were elicited. The block was not completely satisfactory and required supplementation with general anesthesia. Postoperatively, the patient complained of numbness in the radial-nerve distribution. This numbness rapidly lessened in the early postoperative period and completely disappeared during a period of postoperative follow-up. Total tourniquet time was 28 minutes, at a gauge pressure of 250 mm Hg.

The second patient also had excision of Dupuytren's contracture on the same day, in the same operating room. General anesthesia was used for this patient. Postoperatively, he complained of inability to move his fingers and of numbness of the long, ring, and small fingers. These findings improved rapidly immediately, and returned to normal during the follow-up


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