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Regional anesthesia for pediatric knee surgery reduces pain, speeds recovery
Date:8/12/2014

A recent study of an ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia technique, called femoral nerve block, shows that it leads to less opioid use and allows the majority of patients to go home within hours of surgery. As many as 98 percent of all pediatric knee surgeries performed at Nationwide Children's Hospital were done in an outpatient setting, as a result of this method that reduces post-operative pain and speeds recovery.

"Our goal with this technique is to reduce pain, which improves patient outcomes and patient satisfaction," said Tarun Bhalla, MD, director of Acute Pain and Regional Anesthesia at Nationwide Children's and a co-author of the study. "We also use fewer pain medicines intraoperatively as well as postoperatively, so we could really avoid a lot of the side effects that come along with them. We're localizing our numbing medicine to the area where the incision is being made to keep the coverage localized."

Anesthesiologists use ultrasound to guide a needle to the specific surgical site and deliver local anesthetic to numb only the nerves in that region. A femoral nerve block numbs the femoral nerve, which runs close to the femoral artery and conducts signals running along the front of the thigh, the inner leg and the foot. By numbing this nerve, all feeling to those regions is blocked. The anesthetic blocks pain for up to 12 hours in some cases, significantly reducing post-operative pain. Following surgery, patients have a catheter that runs to the surgical site. The catheter is connected to an exterior pump that delivers anesthetic to the area for up to three days after surgery, while the patient is at home.

The study also showed for patients who did require hospitalization spent fewer days inpatient as a result of ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia.

"With a significant reduction of inpatient stays, patients are going home within a couple hours after coming out of surgery and they have an easier recovery,"
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Contact: Gina Bericchia/Media Relations
MediaRelations@nationwidechildrens.org
614-355-0495
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert  

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