We will clean your back really well, to prevent any kind of infection. And then we’ll inject a little bit of novocaine, right before we put the needle, to numb that area in your body. Then, a bigger needle will be inserted and will reach out to the epidural space and inject the local anesthetic. Some people may ask us, “Where do you feel the needle? Do you feel it on the left or right side of your body?” That’s important feedback that we need to make sure that we’re hitting the right spot. After we hit the right spot, the epidural spot, we’re gonna leave a little catheter, and that catheter is gonna provide you pain control for the next couple of days or hours. We will give you a little dose, what we call a test dose, to make sure that the epidural is working.
And after that, we’ll then connect the epidural catheter to a pump that’s gonna give you a continuous infusion of medication. Sometimes those pumps have a little press, a little button that you can press to deliver yourself what we call a bolus of medication, in case you’re having breakthrough pain. Sometimes the pump is just gonna give you a continuous infusion and there won’t be an extra button for you to press. It depends on the practice and the location of your surgery. When you have the little button, that’s called a PCA, which is a patient controlled analgesia. The amount of painkillers that the pump delivers is usually regulated. So we prevent any kind of overdose. Now it’s important to remember that the type, amount and strength of the anesthetic can be adjusted as necessary. So if you’re having breakthrough pain, you’ll be assessed, again, by a nurse or anesthesiologist to make sure that you’re receiving the correct amount and that you are comfortable.