Plastic surgeons are giving their patients immediate relief in the days following major surgeries by using a pain pump—a device that delivers local anesthetic directly to the site of surgery.

Rod Geter, MD, a plastic surgeon who up until recently controlled his patients’ postsurgical pain primarily with narcotics, borrowed the idea of using pain pumps from surgeons who were working on knees and shoulders.

“Orthopedic surgeons were using these pain pumps,” says Geter. “They were having great success with the pain of shoulders and knees with having a local anesthetic pumped into the wound, where they’ve worked in that first 24 to 48 hours; patients were getting significant relief. We get the little holes aligned the way we want them to drip down local anesthetic to cover the area.”

According to Geter, reducing the amount of narcotics reduces the risk of complications and keeps the patient’s head clearer after surgery. Geter says more plastic surgeons are using the pain pump these days because patients are getting relief in the first few days after surgery.

“It’s just another one of those great ideas that I think is really going to catch on,” says Geter.

[www.ky3.com, June 2, 2006]