Going Home with a Femoral Nerve Catheter
You are getting a local anesthetic through a small tube placed near the nerves that go to your knee. This medicine will help with your pain after surgery. The catheter (tube) has been placed by your anesthesia doctor at the request of your surgeon. This sheet will help to answer common questions.
The local pain medicine will not take away all of your pain. We expect that you will use some of the pain pills prescribed by your doctor while you have the catheter in place.
- You will be getting about a teaspoon of numbing medicine constantly every hour. You can also give yourself extra medicine by pushing the “bolus” button at the front of the pump. You can press the button as often as you want. It will only give you the extra medicine once every 30-60 minutes based on the way your doctor programmed your pump. If you still have pain after 20 minutes, you should take your oral pain medicine as agreed.
- Most often, in about 10-15 hours, the intense numbness that you felt at first wears off and you may feel some pain. When this occurs take some of your pain medicine and press the bolus button on the front of your pump.
- After the dense nerve block goes away, most patients describe their thigh as feeling numb. Your thigh should feel numb and thigh muscles may feel weak. They just may not feel normal to you while the catheter is in place. Your toes should never feel different and will not be affected by this block.
- The catheter is most often kept in place for 2-3 days, but may be kept in for less time depending on the preference of your surgeon.
- The infusion should be off for at least 2 hours before you remove the catheter. You should have feeling back in your thigh and knee.
To remove the catheter, you will follow these steps:
1. Wash your hands.
2. Remove the dressing starting with the tape holding the end of the catheter that is connected to the pump tubing. Loosen the tape all the way down to the insertion point for the catheter.
3. Gently pull the catheter out while holding the catheter close to the skin and applying light traction to the skin.
4. It should come out quite smoothly. It may get hung up where there is glue at the site of insertion. You can loosen up this glue so the catheter can move more easily if this is the case.
5. You should NOT have any sharp, shooting pains when removing this catheter. If you do, please call the doctor on this sheet for further assistance. If this is the case you may need to massage the catheter at the point of insertion to loosen it up OR you may even have to come in to have it looked at and removed.
6. Note the tip of the catheter. It should be silver, blue or black. If it is not, please call the phone number on this sheet.
7. Never Cut The Catheter! Never disconnect the catheter from the tubing while the catheter is in your leg.
8. Once the catheter is out you can cut the pump tubing and discard of the tubing and the catheter in the garbage. Please return the pump in the envelope provided.
- Do Not Drive while you are getting this medicine.
- It sedation was used prior to the catheter placement, do not make important personal or business decisions until the next day.
- You will need to have someone with you for the first 24 hours after you go home and for most of the time you are getting this medicine.
- Keep your knee in a locked knee immobilizer, while walking, for the entire time this nerve catheter is running.
- You are at risk for falling because you have a weak leg.
- You MUST use crutches or a walker while walking around with this nerve block. You will NOT be able to support your weight without these aids.
- Fluid may leak around the catheter. This is normal and does not mean the medicine is not working.
- If the skin around the catheter gets red or painful, call the doctor.
Things we worry about
It is very rare that you will receive too much medicine. However, if you were to get too much medicine, it might make you feel unusually sleepy. Your speech might slur. Your tongue might feel very thick. You might feel nervous or confused. If you feel any of these symptoms stop the pump or clamp the tubing and call your doctor right away.
About the pump
- You will know the pump is working because you can hear a series of clicking noises and see the number for the "amount delivered" increase.
- When the catheter has been removed, the pump (with the cap still on) should be mailed back or brought back to clinic if you can’t get it in the mail.
TO REACH YOUR DOCTOR:
CALL 608-262-2122 and ask to have Dr.___________ paged. If no one answers then ask to speak to the resident on acute pain call.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 03/25/2013
Copyright © 02/20/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7163
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