Success for new pain relief method

Patients at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital have been benefiting from a new method of locating specific nerves which provides pain relief during operations.

Anaesthetists at NNUH have been trained in ultrasound guided regional anaesthesia which blocks nerves under the skin and offers improved accuracy and safety compared to traditional methods.  The Norwich doctors received further coaching in the technique from Dr Steve Roberts of The Royal Liverpool Children’s Hospital, Alder Hey, who recently visited for two days at the invitation of Dr Kathy Wilkinson.

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 NNUH on Friday 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.”

On Friday a total of five adult and paediatric orthopaedic patients received the ultrasound guided regional anaesthesia. And for patient Laura Ryan, 44, from Lakenham, Norwich, the results were impressive. A full-time carer, she was admitted for an operation to overcome her condition tennis elbow.

“They asked me before the operation if I was willing to give this new pain relief a go and I said I was. I'm really glad I did, it was phenomenal. I have been in a lot of pain and it was such a relief when they did it, I really couldn’t feel a thing,” she said.  After her operation on her elbow on Friday she was fit and well and returned home on Saturday.

Thursday 6th of July 2006 10:00:56 AM