Aug. 19, 1999
PHILADELPHIA -- Surgery. Even saying the word makes most people cringe. The operation itself isn't the problem, it's the pain that comes with the recovery afterward that most dread. Imagine, however, a recovery free of pain from an incision and without the need for prescription medication.
Surgeons at Temple University Hospital are among the first to utilize a new pain management system that drastically increases post-operative comfort and mobilization.
The system, called On-Q, provides continuous infusion of a local anesthetic directly into a patient's operative site via a pump. The disposable pump works to constantly supply pain relief only to the area affected by a surgical procedure whereas oral pain relievers or narcotics typically prescribed after an operation have whole-body effects.
Prescription drugs usually given to patients can cause severe nausea and drowsiness and may not protect against breakthrough pain. Most patients are not capable of driving or doing many daily tasks while on such medications because they can seriously impair vision and judgment. On-Q allows patients to leave the operating room without ever feeling pain from surgery and return to their normal activities much more quickly.
Dr. Michael Grabowski, a general surgeon at Temple University Hospital, is one of the first surgeons in the country to use the pump after FDA approval.
"I've used it on patients having abdominal surgery who report that they never felt pain after the operation. It's a great system because it allows for much quicker recovery and makes the surgery seem much less traumatic to the patient."
The pump is indicated for use in a wide variety of surgeries, including general, orthopedic, gynecologic and cardiac procedures. It is particularly useful for patients with drug dependency issues who are not advised to take narcotic drugs for pain relief and for nursing mothers, since the drug does not enter the blood stream.
Editor's Note: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.