Postoperative wristwatch-induced compressive neuropathy of the hand: A case report

Laurence Weinberg, Manfred Spanger, Chong Tan, Mehrdad Nikfarjam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: Postoperative peripheral nerve injuries are well-recognised complications of both surgery and anaesthesia and a leading cause of litigation claims. We present a rare cause of compressive sensory and motor neuropraxia of the median, ulnar and radial nerves of the right hand resulting from a wristwatch that was worn on the first postoperative night following minor surgery. Mechanisms of this compressive neuropathy are discussed, with specific recommendations made regarding the wearing of wristwatches, jewellery and constrictive clothing in the immediate postoperative period. Case presentation: A 12-year-old white boy presented with a complete glove and stocking sensory and motor neuropathy involving his right hand from a wristwatch that was worn on the first postoperative night following uneventful surgery for a minor procedure. Over the following 12 hours the oedema and erythema resolved with complete return of motor function. After 18 hours, the sensory deficit completely resolved. Conclusions: Postoperative neuropraxia is often preventable. Paediatric patients, especially if thin, may be particularly susceptible to a compression neuropathy from constrictive clothing or jewellery, in particular circumferential varieties such as wristwatches. These items should not be worn in the immediate postoperative period as pressure on peripheral nerves can result in severe and debilitating nerve injury. Education should be given to all medical staff, carers or parents of children undergoing surgery on the avoidance of wearing wristwatches, jewellery or constrictive clothing in the immediate postoperative period. Early medical evaluation of any postoperative nerve injury is of paramount importance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number141
JournalJournal of Medical Case Reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anaesthesia
  • Neuropathy
  • Neuropraxia

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