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Ed Yeates ReportingPatients trying to deal with pain after surgery are leaving the potent bottles of pain pills behind. Now, instead of pills for the whole body, small wearable pumps are treating only the spot that hurts.
Kathleen Kennedy is home following surgery, in her case her second C-section. This time instead of a bottle of potent pain killers she came home wearing a small portable pump a little bigger than a golf ball.
Pain pills by mouth drug the whole body, but the pump delivers a local anesthetic just to the spot where doctors made the incision.
Kathleen Kennedy: "The first time I got out of bed, it was amazing how I wasn't slumped over and walking like a grandma to the bathroom. I was actually able to stand up straight."
People get out of the hospital sooner and they're more mobile. They can get out and do things without feeling any pain. More and more local hospitals along the Wasatch Front have started using the pumps. LDS Hospital's pain management unit uses a little bigger one, about the size of a cellular phone.
Claudia Campbell, R.N., Pain Management Coordinator, LDS Hospital: "The whole goal of using an anesthetic delivery device is to reduce the need for post operative opiates, or narcotics as they're more commonly known."
Physicians need only make a small puncture in the skin, about the size you would expect from a needle drawing blood. From there, patients simply squeeze the pump to deliver the numbing medication.
In Kathleen's case, her pump is placed into a bag and worn much like a fanny pack around the waist.
The pumps do their thing for about five days. After that patients often need only over the counter anti-inflammatory medication like Ibuprofen. The pumps are being used mostly for C-sections, hysterectomies, knee, shoulder, and joint repairs, and cosmetic surgeries.