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You have been given a continuous peri neural local anaesthetic catheter to give you pain relief after your operation. This guidance sheet will give you further information about it.
A peri neural catheter is a long, thin, floppy tube that has been positioned to lie next to the nerve that supplies strength and feeling to the limb or area you have had your operation on. You may have one or two of these catheters. The catheter is attached to a specialised pump that delivers local anaesthetic through the catheter to numb the nerve continuously. The purpose of a continuous peri neural catheter is to provide pain relief to the operation site by reducing sensation.
Your anaesthetist will have explained how your peri neural catheter and pump work. The local anaesthetic can be given in different ways:
1. A continuous infusion of local anaesthetic to the nerve that supplies sensation to the limb you had your operation on. The amount of local anaesthetic may be able to be increased or decreased, depending on your discomfort.
2. A continuous infusion of local anaesthetic to the nerve that supplies sensation to the limb you had your operation on PLUS the option of giving yourself a little more local anaesthetic by pressing a button attached to the pump, eg to achieve better pain relief in time for physiotherapy or having dressings changed.
A peri neural catheter will usually stay in place for 48 to 96 hours, but can stay for as long as 2 weeks. Once the peri neural catheter is inserted, it is not uncomfortable but the area where you had the operation will feel numb and heavy. It may also feel tingly and warm. If the peri neural catheter is for your arm, your arm will be kept in a sling for support. If the peri neural catheter is for your leg, you may need to be accompanied when walking as your leg may be weaker than normal.
Whilst you are on the ward, you and the catheter will be checked regularly to make sure it is working well. Once the peri neural catheter is removed or the local anaesthetic infusion stopped, it will take several hours for the sensation and power to the numbed area to return tonormal. You may need to start taking more oral painkillers if discomfort increases.
Please speak to the team looking after you if you have questions or concerns.
If you have any concerns once you are home, please contact the hospital where you had the operation:
Sussex Orthopaedic Treatment Centre, Haywards Heath: 01444 448770
Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton: 01273 696955
Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath: 01444 441881
You will find more information about nerve blocks on these websites:
www.rcoa.ac.uk ‘For Patients and Relatives’.
This information is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.
The information here is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.
Publication Date: September 2021
Review Date: June 2024