Pain releif breakthrough for patients

MARK NICHOLLS A revolutionary new pain relief technique is being used during surgery at Norfolk's flagship hospital which means patients can return home sooner.

MARK NICHOLLS

A revolutionary new pain relief technique is being used during surgery at Norfolk's flagship hospital which means patients can return home sooner.

Anaesthetists at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital are using ultrasound to identify specific nerves more accurately so they use less anaesthetic.

This means reduced risk to patients, quicker recovery and reducing the time they stay in hospital.

N&N Anaesthetists have been trained in the groundbreaking new method of ultrasound guided regional anaesthesia which blocks nerves under the skin and offers improved accuracy and safety compared to traditional methods.

One of the first patients to benefit was Laura Ryan, 44, from Lakenham, Norwich, who had an operation at the hospital for tennis elbow.

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She said: “This new technique was absolutely wonderful. They asked me before the operation if I was willing to give this new pain relief a go. I'm really glad I did, it was phenomenal. I really couldn't feel a thing.”

After her operation on her elbow on Friday she was fit and well and returned home on Saturday .

The Norwich-based doctors received coaching in the technique from Dr Steve Roberts of The Royal Liverpool Children's Hospital, Alder Hey, who recently visited the N&N for two days.

Anaesthetists use ultrasound to identify specific nerves more accurately, and can then inject local anaesthetics to dull those specific nerves. By using less local anaesthetic the risk to patients is lowered. There is also evidence that improving patient comfort using non sedative analgesia techniques helps reduce patients' length of stay in hospital

Consultant anaesthetist Dr Morne Wolmarans was one of the anaesthetists who undertook the technique at the N&N and said: “Using this technique we look beyond the skin and identify the nerves and anaesthetise them with local anaesthesia. This is a safer, quicker and, over time, a more cost-effective technique.

“Most importantly patient satisfaction is increased compared to conventional techniques and leads to a quicker return home from hospital.”

Last Friday a total of five adult and paediatric orthopaedic patients received the ultrasound guided regional anaesthesia. And for patient Mrs Ryan, who is a full-time carer for her husband Christopher, 51, who has cancer, the results were impressive. A full-time carer, she was admitted for an operation to overcome her condition tennis elbow.