Foot Health

Are you put to sleep for hallux rigidus surgery?

Anesthetic Approaches in Hallux Rigidus Surgery

While the prospect of any surgery can be intimidating, understanding the anesthetic approach can help ease some concerns. In Hallux Rigidus surgery, anesthesia plays a crucial role in ensuring patient comfort and optimal surgical outcomes. The options generally include local, regional, or general anesthesia, with the choice largely dependent on the specific surgical procedure, patient health status, and surgeon’s preference.

Local Anesthesia

Local anesthesia involves numbing a specific area of the body, in this case, the foot. The anesthetic is injected around the surgical site, blocking the nerves that transmit pain.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Local anesthesia offers the benefit of faster recovery time as it doesn’t affect your overall consciousness or bodily functions. However, you may feel some pressure or movement during the operation, which can be unsettling for some patients. Moreover, its pain blocking efficacy may be insufficient for more complex or prolonged surgeries.

Regional Anesthesia

Regional anesthesia, commonly used as an ankle block or popliteal block, involves numbing a larger part of the body. Anesthetic is injected around the nerves in the ankle or behind the knee, effectively numbing the entire foot.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Regional anesthesia provides more extensive numbness than local anesthesia, making it suitable for more complex foot surgeries. Patients remain awake but feel no pain in the anesthetized area. However, it still requires the patient to be comfortable with the sensation of surgical manipulation.

General Anesthesia

Under general anesthesia, you are put to sleep for the duration of the surgery. This is accomplished using intravenous medications or inhaled gasses.

Advantages and Disadvantages

General anesthesia eliminates any awareness of the surgery, which can be beneficial for patients with high anxiety or for complex, lengthy procedures. However, general anesthesia affects the entire body and may come with a higher risk of complications, especially in patients with certain health conditions. Recovery time is also typically longer compared to local or regional anesthesia.

Conscious Sedation

In some cases, a method known as conscious sedation or “twilight sleep” might be used. This involves using a combination of medications to help you relax (a sedative) and to block pain (an analgesic). You may be somewhat awake but relaxed and insensitive to pain.

Choosing the Right Anesthesia

The choice of anesthesia depends on various factors:

Surgical Procedure

More invasive procedures like arthrodesis (joint fusion) may require regional or general anesthesia, while less invasive ones like cheilectomy may be performed under local anesthesia.

Patient Factors

Factors such as patient anxiety, pain tolerance, overall health, and presence of specific medical conditions play a crucial role in this decision.

Surgeon and Anesthesiologist Preference

The surgeon’s and anesthesiologist’s expertise and preference also influence the choice of anesthesia.


Whether you’re put to sleep for Hallux Rigidus surgery depends on the type of procedure, your overall health, and your comfort level. Some people undergo surgery under local or regional anesthesia and remain awake, while others might require general anesthesia. A thorough discussion with your surgeon and anesthesiologist will help determine the best anesthetic approach for you.