Epidural Catheter Placement

Epidural catheter placement may be indicated for select patients for intra-operative or post-operative pain control. It may also be used to treat pain from rib fractures or cancer. A small, thin plastic tube is inserted into the epidural space of your back and then attached to a pump to deliver pain medications close to the nerves of the spine.

The risks of the procedure include inadequate control of pain, nausea or vomiting, allergic reaction, or numbness or weakness in the legs. Complications are rare but can include headaches, nerve damage or infection.

When you arrive, a nurse will obtain your blood pressure, temperature and weight. Medications, allergies and a brief medical history will be reviewed. It is important to let the nurse know if you have allergies to X-ray dye, Betadine or latex, if you are taking blood thinners, such as Coumadin, Plavix, Pradaza or Lovenox, or if there a possibility of pregnancy.

After discussing treatment with your physician and signing procedural consent, you will go the x-ray room where you will be helped onto the X-ray table into the best position for visualizing the spine. We will try to make you as comfortable as possible. Your skin will be cleansed with antiseptic and after numbing the skin with local anesthetic, the physician will place a small needle into the epidural space using fluoroscopic guidance. The catheter will then be guided through the needle into the epidural space, the needle removed and the catheter taped in place. The entire procedure will take about 20 minutes. The pump can then be connected to the catheter to deliver pain medication.

Our goal is to relieve your pain. If you are still experiencing pain with PCA, it is important to notify your nurse or doctor.

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