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Podiatrist's Patients Remain Awake During Surgery, Yet Stay Pain-Free with High-Tech 'Pain Pump'
When Dr. Peter J. Bregman performs surgery on a podiatry patient today, he attaches a small, microchip-controlled ambIT(R) infusion pump to a thin tube that bathes the nerves leading to the patient's foot in anesthetic. His patients stay awake during surgery involving an extremely sensitive area, yet remain completely pain-free. After surgery, the pain pump -- which hangs from a belt pack and runs on two AA batteries -- stays with the patient to ensure a comfortable recovery at home.
Bregman is pioneering this new pain-control technique for podiatry surgery in Massachusetts because it brings a variety of medical benefits, he said. Unlike the sledgehammer of general anesthesia, this new technique delivers a local anesthetic precisely to targeted, limb-specific nerves, providing profound pain relief by blocking signals to the brain but leaving the patient fully conscious.
Because general anesthesia suppresses activity in the entire central nervous system, a patient's vital signs must be constantly monitored during surgery. Then, hours after surgery when general anesthesia wears off, the patient begins taking pain medication which may include morphine or other addictive drugs. The analgesic effect of a narcotic pill peaks and gradually disappears so pain comes and goes. Narcotics may also cause nausea, vomiting, constipation and sedation. ...