Post-operative Pain Relief
In collaboration with the pain team and our anaesthetists we have established high standard protocols for each type of surgery. These are informed by the best evidence based medicine. Our nursing staff are well trained to deliver these protocols in the most efficient manner.
The goals of postoperative pain management are to enable you to be mobile and to be able to do your physiotherapy with minimum pain and stress.
During the surgery we infiltrate the surgical site with local anaesthetics, which generally last for a few hours post surgery.
Shortly after surgery an intravenous infusion of a painkiller may be administered. This will be substituted gradually by injections through your intravenous line and changed to oral painkillers throughout the first few days following surgery. It is very important to maintain a good balance of these medications as they can cause drowsiness, nausea and vomiting.
If an epidural block was used during your surgery the epidural catheter can be left in place and anaesthesia continued afterwards to help control pain.
You will also have control over the amount of pain medication you receive, within preset limits, through the use of a machine called a PCA machine (Patient Controlled Analgesia) which you administer yourself by a press of the button.
During the first few days, while you are receiving the painkiller intravenously, you will be closely monitored to ensure any adverse effects such as excessive sedation are minimised. We strongly believe the proper use of pain relievers before, during, and after your surgery is an extremely important aspect of your treatment and the recovery process. Proper use of pain medication can encourage healing and ensure your surgical and recovery process is as positive as is possible. Sufficient pain relief enables you to breathe and move your limbs easier, which in turn decreases the chance of lung complications and deep vein thrombosis. A physiotherapist will demonstrate the breathing exercises you encouraged to do in order to keep your chest and lungs clear.
As with any medications there are can be some side effects which can include: headaches, loss of appetite, nausea and constipation for a couple of days. These are ordinary reactions.
You may have a urinary catheter inserted during surgery and be given stool softeners or laxatives to ease the constipation caused by the post surgery pain medications.