With the use of continuous epidural catheters, patients don’t have to endure severe pain after undergoing surgery.
Following surgery, pain medication is a key part of your recovery. Some pain is common after surgery, but you shouldn’t have to endure severe pain. By using pain medications, pain can be controlled and it can actually speed-up the healing process and lead to fewer complications.
Continuous epidural catheters are placed in the epidural space or intrathecally (where spinal fluid lies) connected to a device that delivers constant pain medications. They are used as a test before intrathecal pumps, to alleviate severe pain after surgery, and for severe cancer pain.
The type of pain medication you receive may depend both on the type of surgery you have and the intensity of pain afterwards. The effectiveness of certain drugs varies by surgery.
Pain relievers, such as morphine and fentanyl, are usually injected into continuous epidural catheters at regular intervals. Most hospitals also offer patient-controlled analgesia, which is a system that allows you to give yourself a fixed dose of the medication by pushing a button. The PCA system allows each dose of pain medicine enough time to work before you receive another dose in order to prevent an accidental overdose.