ANAESTHESIA & PAIN RELIEF FOR
KNEE & HIP ARTHROSCOPY
This type of surgery is generally done as a day case under full general anaesthetic. You will receive intravenous pain relief and local anaesthetic into your joint while you are asleep which should result in you waking up comfortable. If you do feel pain when you wake we will add intravenous pain relief immediately to reduce this and we must ensure that you are comfortable before you leave the recovery room.
Once you leave the hospital your pain should not increase significantly however we will provide you with pain relief tablets in case there are any issues.
Simple Paracetamol (Panadol) and anti-inflammatory (such as Celebrex or Mobic) are usually adequate however we will supply something stronger also. Panadeine forte has paracetamol mixed with some codeine which is a simple solution for moderate pain. For more severe pain, Palexia (Tapentadol) can be useful and is generally very well tolerated. However this medication is not covered by insurance and will cost $30 for ~20 tablets. Other pain tablets such as Endone or Tramadol are also available on request. Please discuss your preferences with the anaesthetist.
Shoulder arthroscopy involves a full general anaesthetic and usually an additional form of pain relief called a nerve block. This type of surgery can be painful to recover from and the nerve block has been found to be very useful in relieving this pain in the first 12-24 hours after surgery. I use an ultrasound device to locate the nerves in the neck and when you are asleep I carefully inject some local anaesthetic around these nerves to send them to sleep for 8-16 hours. The effect of this injection is to render the shoulder partially numb and comfortable. Other effects include some pins and needles and weakness of the arm and hand. The whole arm may go completely numb for a period of time but this is fully reversible and uncommon. Prolonged numbess of a patch of skin in the arm or hand lasting longer than 1-2 days is possible in a small percentage of patients but the majority will completely resolve over a few weeks. This may result from the effects of the surgery, your positioning during the operation or from the nerve block itself. Serious nerve injury resulting in weakness of the arm or hand is very rare.