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Ed Yeates ReportingA Utah orthopedic center is sending total knee and hip patients home with an unusual baby bottle that keeps them from feeling any pain at all. It's called "Catheters-To-Go."
Unlike heavy narcotic drugs which have all kinds side effects, the stuff that goes inside the container subdues only the pain at its source and nothing else.
The procedure begins just before surgery. Using ultrasound, Dr. Jeffrey Swenson and his colleagues locate the vicinity where they want to control the pain. The catheter is inserted and hooked to the container.
Jeffrey Swenson, M.D./University of Utah Orthopedic Center: "It's like having an epidural in your leg. Only this leg is numb, but it has no effect on the brain, or the GI tract, or anything else."
In a room down the hall, Georgette Moutsos has already had her full knee replacement. She'll take the small bottle loaded with a local anesthetic home with her, strapped to her leg or inserted in her bandages. It will continue to keep her pain free for two more days at home.
Jeffrey Swenson, M.D: "This valve where the catheter is connected allows 5 cc's an hour to infuse. The beauty of this is not only does it provide better pain relief. We can sometimes achieve total anesthesia."
Just like that patient Georgette was in surgery only five hours ago. Now, she's in her room on a CPM machine which continually moves that knee. And she feels no pain at all.
Georgette Moutsos: "There's no pain. I wiggle my toes right away and right now, I'm on a machine that should be hurting because it's folding my knee - and I don't."
No systemic opiates like Oxycontin, Loratab, Vicodin, and Percocet, or morphine. The baby bottle does it all post surgery and two days at home, when the pain is usually at its worst. And it appears to work not only for knees and hips but upper extremity surgeries as well.
When the treatment is finished, patients at home simply remove the catheters themselves and throw the kit away.