• Vol. 28 No. 2, 288–289
  • 15 March 1999

Radial Nerve Injury after Intravenous Cannulation at the Wrist—A Case Report



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Peripheral venous cannulation is one of the commonest procedures performed in hospitals. The dorso-lateral aspect of the wrist is one of the favourite sites. Radial nerve injury, though extremely rare, can be a serious complication and has been reported twice. One patient was left with a permanent work disability due to a painful neuroma. Another patient required surgical intervention to remove a neuroma six months after the initial venous cannulation resulting in almost complete recovery. We report the first case of injury to the radial nerve at the wrist as a complication of venous cannulation where complete recovery occurred spontaneously. In our case, immediate removal of the cannula may be responsible for the improved outcome.

A 44-year-old male, right-handed and ASA 1 bus driver presented for elective mastoidectomy under general anaesthesia. Preoperative venous cannulation with a 20G cannula (Angiocath™) was first attempted on the dorso-lateral aspect of the right wrist at the base of the anatomical snuffbox.

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