Any parent whose child has undergone surgery can tell you how nerve-racking it can be. Not only do parents worry about the pain associated with surgery, but also the drugs that are often used to control it.
“In the past we often had to admit children to the hospital following surgery, some for several days, in order to manage their pain with opioids,” said Tarun Bhalla, MD, director of Acute Pain and Regional Anesthesia at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “But with innovative pain-blocking techniques we are making great strides in changing that,” he said.
Using ultrasound machines doctors are able to pinpoint which nerves will be affected during surgery. Then, by inserting a tiny catheter, they’re able to administer pain medication directly to those nerves, which eliminates the need for opioids and dramatically reduces hospital admissions. A recent study of knee surgery cases at Nationwide Children's Hospital shows admissions were cut by 98 percent.
“Not only are children going home an hour or two after surgery, but we’re managing their pain with much less risk and far fewer side effects,” said Bhalla.