Memorial Hermann Orthopedic Surgeon Explains On-Q Pain Reduction Pump
As an orthopedic surgeon trying to provide the best and most modern of knee surgery to my patients, one of the major ways I can help my patients through a surgery is to drastically reduce the amount of pain a person experiences from undergoing a major surgery such as a partial or total knee replacement or an ACL surgery.
Fortunately, the anesthesia department at my hospital Memorial Hermann Memorial City is especially interested in reducing post-operative pain for my patients. This group of doctors is employing the latest techniques at pain reduction, which at this point of time in 2012 is a continuous block, for days, of the pain sensory fibers of the femoral nerve of the operated leg.
The femoral nerve controls about 80 per cent of the pain fibers coming from the knee. If the pain fibers are blocked completely, there will be an 80 per cent reduction in the amount of pain experienced by the patient. Before the On-Q pump was developed a single shot of ropivicane or marcaine, which is a type of “novocaine” was placed near the nerve by injection. As single shot would last 12 hours, and when it wears off the pain would come on. An On-Q pump holds a two or three day supply of ropivicane such that the medication is injected continuously for this time period. Further, the pump flow is adjustable so the patient can get more or less numbness of the knee by controlling the rate of fluid infusion. By the time the On-Q pump has emptied, the time period of the major pain from surgery has passed, which is a big benefit for the patient. Hopefully, the patient never experiences the severe pain of waking up from the anesthesia after knee surgery and never experiences severe pain through the hospitalization!