Why can't doctors numb pain with a numbing agent? Say a broken finger or something similar.?

I am just curious, I know it's not a long term solution by any means but is it dangerous to do so? For example once I was in the ER with my friend who shot himself in the hand with a nail gun and they gave him laughing gas and morphine, and had to use a hammer to get it out. I was wondering why they couldn't numb the area. Maybe it's more expensive or something? Sorry if this is a dumb question. 

2 Answers

Relevance
  • mokrie
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    Numbing only goes so deep and does not go totally through your hand. It also does not numb bone which can be painful when broken. 

  • 4 weeks ago

    They can and do.

    The severity of the injury is part of the determination of what kind on anesthetic is used.

    If it's something like stitches, a local anesthetic (like Novocain) will be used.  If it's more serious, or if the pain is expected to be more severe and long-lasting (like your friend's nail gun accident) a general anesthetic will be used.

    "Laughing gas" (usually nitrous oxide) is a fast-acting but short-duration general anesthetic.  Morphine lasts longer, but has certain toxicity issues.

    For a broken finger, usually no anesthetic will be used at all, since part of knowing the bone has been set properly comes from the patient feeling it.  If it's completely numb, it could be set wrong and no one would know until too late.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.