Epidural Anesthesia

Epidural anesthesia — another type of pain relief your child may receive after surgery — is a way for doctors to put the pain medication close to the body part that hurts. It helps ease moderate to severe pain. If you have any questions, feel free to ask your child's doctor or nurse. The more you understand about how your child's pain medication works, the better able you'll be to help your child cope.

How does it work?

The epidural catheter is a tiny tube placed under the skin near the nerves that help the body feel and control pain. Your child will then receive pain medication through the epidural catheter.

Does it hurt when you put in the catheter?

The anesthesiologist may place the epidural catheter while your child is asleep or sedated in the operating room. Your child won't feel the epidural catheter while it's in place or when it's removed.

What kinds of medicine are used?

Anesthesiologists usually give two types of medicines through the epidural: an opioid — also called a narcotic — and a local anesthetic. These medications will decrease the amount of pain your child feels.

Why use it?

Since the pain medication goes directly to the area that senses and controls pain, your child will need less medication to control his pain — which means fewer side effects.

Will it make all my child's pain go away?

No, but your child should feel comfortable enough to move around in bed. She may leave the bed with the help of a nurse. If you think the medicine isn't working, be sure tell your child's nurse or doctor.

How long will my child need it?

The epidural catheter will usually stay in place one to five days. After it's removed, your child may take pills or liquid pain medication. Your child's doctor will adjust her pain management plan to meet her specific needs.

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