Laparoscopic Total Colectomy & Ileoanal Pullthrough
Controlling post-operative discomfort or pain is very important to your recovery. When your pain is controlled, you will sleep better, feel more relaxed, and be able to move around more easily. Before your surgery, your surgeon and anesthesiologist will discuss options to control your discomfort after the surgery. Your nurses will ask you about your pain level.
Pain control is performed by giving pain medicine either through an intravenous (IV) or epidural catheter. See our Family Education Sheets "Patient Controlled Analgesia for Pain Relief" and "Epidural Catheter for Pain Relief."
Intravenous (IV) pain management is performed by using a "PCA" or "patient-controlled anesthesia" pump. By pushing a button, you can give a dose of pain medicine directly into your IV catheter. This technique requires you to be an active participant and allows you to use as much medicine as necessary. Several safety mechanisms prevent accidental administration of too much medicine.
A second option for pain management is to have an epidural catheter placed during the operation by an anesthesiologist. This is a thin flexible tube, also called a catheter that is placed while you are sedated. It is similar to the epidural catheters uses for labor pain during childbirth. The catheter tubing is attached to a syringe holding pain medicine. A pump delivers a continuous flow of pain medication providing more continuous pain relief. A doctor orders the amount of medicine delivered by the pump. Since a local anesthetic (like numbing medicine at the dentist) is used, some numbness or weakness may temporarily be noticed after the surgery. Occasionally, people complain about itching resulting from epidural pain medications.
Both techniques of pain control are supervised by the Pain Treatment Service (PTS). PTS nurses and doctors check on you every day and are available 24 hours a day. They can make adjustments at any time to help control your pain. Usually you will need an epidural or PCA pump for 3 to 5 days until you can drink fluids by mouth. Then you will be changed to taking pain medication by mouth.