MEDIA RELEASES

Epidural Allows Swift Recovery After Serious Surgery

In recognition of National Anaesthesia Day on October 17, Northland District Health Board is sharing stories of patients who have benefited from regional anaesthesia during surgery.

Lionel ‘Barry’ Moor of Kaikohe had an epidural anaesthetic on August 15 and said the epidural resulted in zero pain when he awoke after almost eight hours of surgery.

An ‘epidural’ is regional anaesthetic applied a thin plastic tube which is placed in the epidural space just behind the spine. Local anaesthetic numbs the nerves as they leave the spinal cord.

Barry, 75, needed surgery for a hernia which occurred after earlier gall bladder surgery in February 2016. When being prepared for surgery, Barry was given an epidural as well as a general anaesthetic. The epidural was placed so that the nerves that carry pain messages from the area where the surgery took place could be numbed.

“This is the first time I’ve had an epidural and I swear by it now,” Barry said two days after the surgery.

“I woke up feeling more refreshed than expected. My hernia had bulged 4-5 inches out. It was horrible, it was like a football. The biggest [benefit of an epidural anaesthesia] was no pain afterward. None whatsoever.”

Barry said he still didn’t feel pain two days after his surgery.

When being prepared to undergo surgery, Barry’s surgeon handed over the expertise to a dedicated anaesthetist who Barry says “was so good about explaining things and why I should have [the epidural].”

“The anaesthetist explained about putting a needle in my back. He explained I would feel pain if he went off track, so he gently altered the needle [to apply the anaesthetic in the epidural space] and it didn’t cause a lot of pain. I can’t speak highly enough – the whole team, from when I came into the waiting room, have been just brilliant.”

“I had three stints here last year and I was in a hell of a lot of pain all the time right up until I came to hospital but this time I recovered smoothly.”

An epidural was a good option for pain relief for him, because of the size and location of his hernia. The epidural stayed in Barry for 3-4 days, with local anaesthetic solution running into it, using a pump to carefully control the rate. He was monitored throughout by a trained nurse and followed up daily by the pain service to reduce the risk of side effects and complications.

“The nurses have been checking me each morning by running ice over my torso to check the effectiveness of the local anaesthetic,” Barry said.

“I need an ankle operation soon and I will certainly be choosing a general anaesthetic with epidural.”


Lionel 'Barry' Moor


Services A - Z

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

In order to view this object you need Flash Player 9+ support!

Get Adobe Flash player