Pain relief after total joint replacement surgery is an important part of the recovery process. With reduced pain, you are more likely to experience a more comfortable recovery and faster return to everyday activities.
The most common way to treat pain after surgery is with narcotics, such as morphine or codeine. Affecting the entire body, these drugs can cause side effects such as breathing difficulty, constipation, nausea and vomiting. They also can make you sleepy or groggy, and may slow your recovery process.
Unlike narcotics, local anesthetics are medications that numb a targeted site. Since they do not affect the entire body, there is less risk of unpleasant side effects. Local anesthetics have been used for years for different types of surgeries and dental procedures.
Summa Health is the only healthcare system in the region using the pain ball, a small disposable pump filled with a local anesthetic medication to relieve your pain after surgery. It continuously delivers the medication, which blocks the pain in the area of your procedure. The pain ball works with other medications or therapies your doctor may prescribe to manage your pain. With it, you may need less narcotics and have better pain relief than with narcotics alone.
The pain ball may provide:
What’s more, the pain ball system is completely portable and can be clipped to your clothing or placed in a small carrying case.
The pain ball pump is connected to a small catheter (tube), which is inserted by your Summa Health orthopedic surgeon or anesthesiologist. Depending on your procedure, the catheter is placed near the surgical incision site or under the skin next to a nerve near the surgical area.
The pain ball pump continuously delivers the medication at a very slow flow rate. As the medication is released the pump (ball) gradually becomes smaller. However, it may take more than 24 hours after your procedure to notice a change in the pump’s appearance. Depending on the pump size, it may take 2-5 days to release all the medication. Once all the medication is delivered, the outside bag becomes flat and a hard tube can be felt in the center of the pump.
Ask your Summa Health orthopedic surgeon and pain management team if the pain ball system is an appropriate treatment option for you, or call us at 330.835.5533.