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On Q Pain Pump

The On Q pain pump represents one of those medical breakthroughs that makes us wonder why it took so long to develop. The idea behind a pain pump is to treat the source of a post-operative pain, rather than flooding the entire body with narcotics. Not only is it effective pain relief, but it helps avoid problems that go along with a pain medication regimen.

Called the On Q PainBuster Post-Op Pain Relief System, this device allows for post-operative patients to get back on their feet faster than ever before. The pain pump delivers anesthetic directly to the surgical site to provide ongoing pain relief for up to five days after the surgery. This creates a system in which pain relief can be given without the need for narcotics. The system can also be used in addition to narcotic pain killers, depending on the patient's pain management program.

The system works by attaching a balloon-style pump to a catheter inserted near the surgery site. A healthcare provider sets the pain pump to dispense the anesthetic at a very slow rate. The rate is so slow that a patient may not be able to see a physical change in the pump, but this does not mean it isn't working. When it is empty (usually within two to five days), the outside bag will have gone flat and there will be a hard tube in the center. The catheter will then be removed by a doctor.

The On Q pain pump is extremely portable, which is part of what makes it so useful. It can either be attached to the patient's clothing or carried in a small pouch. Because the medication is treating at the surgery site, there is less of a chance of breakthrough pain, too. In order to be as effective as possible, the system utilizes the "On Q Soaker Catheter". Rather than only providing one exit for the medication, the catheter is equipped with multiple holes to administer the local anesthetic over a longer area.

Among others, the On Q pain pump is often used for these procedures:
  • breast augmentation
  • gastric bypass
  • cesarean section
  • prostatectomy
  • hemorrhoidectomy
  • ACL surgery
The pain pumps can come in a variety of sizes, and the amount of medication held can also vary from 65-750 ml. The infusion of medicine can range from 12 hours all the way up to 5 days, based on the amount of anesthetic included and the needs of the patient. They are intended for single us and are therefore disposable. While medication is usually dispensed at a predetermined rate, certain types of On Q pain pumps may include the option to utilize a bolus device to add an extra amount on demand.



Kathryn Wagner, MD

Dr. Kathryn Wagner grew up in South Texas. Since 1995, when she completed her medical training, she has had a private practice in San Antonio. Recently, a new office facility has been opened by Dr. Wagner at the historic Nix Health Care System downtown located on the fourteenth floor. In 1991, she was licensed by the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners. In 1999, Dr. Wagner was Board Certified by the American College of Surgeons. Kathryn Wagner is married and is raising three children. She enjoys scuba diving, swimming, and wine tasting.
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