Your anaesthetist will ensure that your recovery following surgery is as comfortable as possible. Stace anaesthetists are all highly trained and experienced, not only in the provision of safe anaesthesia during your surgery but also in using medications and sophisticated techniques so that any discomfort following surgery is minimised.
For any patient undergoing surgery, an appropriate strategy to manage any discomfort will be individualised by your anaesthetist. In many cases you will have several different options explained to you, and in conjunction with your anaesthetist you can make the choice of the technique that best suits your particular circumstance.
Many of the different options are briefly summarised below. These range from simple oral analgesics through to very sophisticated techniques. Do not hesitate to ask your anaesthetist if there is anything you are unsure about, however it is our aim to ensure that you are comfortable following your surgery regardless of the type of procedure you have had.
Many of the procedures done as day cases will result in mild discomfort following the surgery which can be managed by taking regular tablets such as Paracetamol (e.g. Panamax,Panadol) alone or in combination with non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications ( e.g. Voltaren, Naprosyn) Many of these can be purchased as over the counter medications from your pharmacy or even a supermarket.
These are very safe medications when taken according to the instructions however there is always the potential for side effects when taking any medication. These may be explained to you before discharge or can be read on the package insert.
If your procedure results in more than mild discomfort you may be prescribed stronger pain killers than you can purchase over the counter. These medications require a prescription from your anaesthetist or surgeon. There are a number of medications that can be used and your anaesthetist will make the choice based on what is most appropriate for your individual circumstance.
Commonly used medications in this group include: Panadeine Forte or Oxycodone.
For procedures where you may experience discomfort that is expected to be moderate, you may be prescribed regular injections under the skin of a very strong painkiller such as morphine.
Some people are very concerned about becoming dependent on these drugs –this is extremely unlikely to happen over a short course following an operation and you should use as much of the drug as you need to be comfortable during your hospital stay.
PCA is a very effective and safe technique and is used frequently for more major surgery.
A strong painkiller, commonly morphine or fentanyl is placed in a locked pump next to your bed and attached to your intravenous line. You are given a button to press when you experience pain, which delivers a dose of the selected drug directly into your vein. The result is achievement of very rapid pain relief that you have control.
The dose is determined by your anaesthetist and can be changed at any time if needed.
This is now a very common way of providing pain relief following Caesarian section or joint replacement surgery.
A small dose of morphine is added to the mixture of local anaesthetic, which is placed into the fluid (cerebrospinal fluid) surrounding your spinal cord.
This provides very effective pain relief for up to twenty four (24) hours following your surgery.
For some major abdominal, thoracic and joint replacement surgery your anaesthetist may choose to use epidural analgesia in the post operative period.
This involves the insertion of an epidural catheter prior to the commencement of your operation so that local anaesthetic mixture can be continuously infused for up to several days after surgery. This will result in excellent pain relief.
It is possible to numb areas of the body by injecting or infusing local anaesthetic drugs around the nerves that carry sensation to parts of the body. These nerve blocks can be used to provide anaesthesia for the surgery or for providing excellent pain relief after surgery.