-- Question: What Is An Epidural And When Should I Get One For Pain Relief After Surgery?
Answer: Epidural analgesia is one of the aggressive techniques for controlling pain after operations that are likely to create a lot of pain and lasting several days in duration. It might be appropriate for you to have an epidural if you're having surgery involving the chest, a major abdominal procedure or a major lower-extremity orthopedic procedure.
Epidural analgesia involves placing drugs close to the spinal cord. This is usually done through a needle; it may be done as a single injection or may involve leaving a catheter in place to provide pain relief for several days. A newer injection technique involves a single drug that lasts for 48 hours.
However, it's important that the decision to place an epidural for your pain control is carefully considered by you, the patient, the surgeon and the anesthesiologist to determine what is most appropriate in your circumstances.