Learn more about pain and pain medication after thoracic surgery.

We will make you as comfortable as we can. If your pain is adequately treated, you will be able to move around better and do things that will help you recover sooner.

Please let the staff know as soon as you have any discomfort or if your pain medication is inadequate.

Sometimes patients are worried about taking pain medication and becoming addicted. This should not be a concern, as you will only be taking the pain medication for a short period of time.

To help assess your pain, the staff will ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 0 to 10. A score of 0 means you have no pain and a score of 10 means you are having the worst pain ever.

Epidural Catheter

Before your operation, a very thin tube or catheter might be placed into your back. Pain medication will continuously flow around the spinal cord decreasing your ability to feel pain.

Patient-Controlled Analgesia (PCA)

A pain medication pump will be attached to your IV line. You'll be given a button to press to control the delivery of pain medication from the pump. The pump delivers a very small but effective dose of pain medication.

As you feel pain or before activity, you should press the button. The system is designed so you don’t need to worry about getting too much pain medication.

Oral Medications

When you are able to eat, you will be switched to medication that you can swallow, such as Percocet.

Other Medications

In addition to your pain medication, you will receive an antibiotic to help prevent infection. You will also receive an injection of heparin two times a day to help prevent blood clots from forming in your legs. Any other medications that you typically take will be restarted as soon as possible.

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