Continuous Nerve Catheters

Continuous Peripheral Nerve Catheters: A More Comfortable Recovery

Continuous peripheral nerve catheters provide excellent postoperative pain relief for shoulder surgery, knee surgery, ankle surgery, leg surgery, and arm surgery. The continuous peripheral nerve catheter is a soft, threadlike catheter that provides a continuous infusion of local anesthesia for pain relief that lasts up to 3 days after your procedures. Our regional anesthesia team is specially trained and highly experienced in using the latest ultrasound-guided technology for accuracy and safety during the placement of this pain-relieving catheter.

We provide intravenous sedation during the catheter placement for patient comfort. Our patients also receive moderate to deep sedation, spinal anesthesia, or general anesthesia for patient comfort in the operating room.

The catheter is connected to a medication infusion device.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of a continuous peripheral nerve catheter?

• Better pain control than oral or intravenous pain medicine alone.
• Fewer side effects from pain medicine like vomiting, itching, constipation, and drowsiness.
• Improved physical therapy, range of motion, earlier mobility, and faster recovery overall.
• Lower risk of developing of chronic pain after surgery.

How is the peripheral nerve catheter placed?

After reviewing your medical history and discussing your anesthesia, a highly qualified anesthesiologist from Princeton Anesthesia Services will provide IV sedation to help you relax. After numbing the skin with local anesthesia, a soft, flexible catheter will be placed under ultrasound guidance to provide continuous pain relief.

After the catheter is placed, you will be taken to the operating room, and your anesthesiologist will provide general anesthesia, spinal anesthesia, or sedation.

What does the peripheral nerve catheter feel like?

The soft, flexible catheter is thread-like in nature and rarely felt by the patient as it infuses local anesthesia. Use of ultrasound guidance makes placement of the catheter quick and precise. IV sedation is given to ensure your comfort.

As long as the catheter is infusing local anesthesia, you will experience temporary numbness over the affected extremity. Because of this, you should refrain from using or bearing any weight on the affected arm or leg.

For knee surgery, because the catheter directs local anesthesia around nerves that supply the front of the thigh and knee, you may experience residual discomfort in the back or sides of the knee after surgery.

How long will the catheter control my pain?

Pain relief lasts as long as the catheter is in place and for up to one day after the catheter infusion is discontinued. Oral pain medications will be prescribed by your surgeon to treat any pain not controlled by the catheter.

How is the catheter removed?

The thread-like catheter is secured in place with sterile adhesive tape only and is therefore easily and painlessly removed by the patient. Printed instructions for catheter removal will be provided on the day of surgery.

What are the risks?

Precautions are taken to reduce the risk of complications and maximize patient comfort. Complications are rare but not impossible. These could include bleeding, infection, altered sensation or strength in the affected limb, and reactions to the local anesthetic. Feel free to discuss this procedure with an anesthesiologist prior to your scheduled surgery.