Why does my child have an epidural catheter?
Having an epidural catheter can provide continuous pain relief after surgery without the side effects some other pain medications may have.
What is an epidural catheter and how does it help with pain?
An epidural catheter is a small tube placed under the skin in your child’s back to help manage pain. This small tube is placed by an anesthesiologist in the operating room while your child is asleep. The end of the small tube will sit in an area of the back where the nerves feel and control pain. Numbing medication will constantly flow to this area through the small tube.
What type of pain medication is my child receiving?
The numbing medication that your child will be receiving through the epidural catheter is called a local anesthetic. The numbing medication helps to decrease the number of pain signals the nerves send to the brain. This stops the feeling of pain over the surgical area by providing continuous numbing relief. Your child may receive other pain medications while the epidural is running.
What are the side effects of having an epidural catheter?
- Inability to pee
- Feeling sleepy
- Slower than normal breathing
- Numbness or tingling or having a hard time moving
- Allergic reaction (rare)
How long will my child have the epidural in place?
The epidural catheter is secured with tape and stays in place for 1-5 days. Once the epidural is removed, the numbing medication will continue to work for 2-4 hours. Your child may have regular pain medication by mouth after the epidural is removed.
What type of activity can my child do?
On the day of surgery, your child will remain in bed. When the doctor says it is ok to get out of bed, it is important to always have the nurse at the bedside. Do not attempt to get your child out of bed alone.
Who do I contact if I have questions?
Your child will have a care team. The anesthesiologist and Pain Service will be part of that team and are responsible for the management of the epidural catheter and pain medications. If you have any questions or concerns, talk with your nurse and they will contact them to address your questions.