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Pain Pumps for Nerve Blocks at Home

You are being discharged with a “pain pump” to deliver numbing pain medicine (local anesthetic). This pump will help you to continue your pain relief at home for the next 48 hours. The pump is set to deliver a specific dose per hour.

You also will receive a prescription for pain medicine in pill form. It is OK to take the pills (but only as prescribed) while using the pain pump. You should take the pills if you are having pain. Be sure to fill the prescription on your way home, even if you are not having pain when you leave the hospital.

When to call the doctor

If you have any of the following symptoms, close the two white clamps on the tubing (they are located near the containers that hold the pain medication)  and call the doctor immediately:

  • Numb feeling around your lips or tongue
  •  Metallic taste in your mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Seizure (call 9-1-1 or have someone take you to an Emergency Department immediately 
  • If there is a large amount of fluid leaking from the site of the catheter 

  If you have uncontrollable pain, call 412-692-2333 to reach the doctor through the answering service for the Acute interventional Perioperative Pain Service (AIPPS).


  • IF you have had surgery on your shoulder, arm, hand, etc.:
  •  be careful while preparing or eating hot foods or liquids.
  •  follow your surgeon’s orders for wearing your sling or other device.
  • IF you had surgery on your leg, ankle, foot, etc.:
  • Keep your pathway clear of objects and rugs that could cause you to trip.
  •  follow your surgeon’s orders for wearing a brace or immobilization device.
  • For ALL patients:
  • Check your skin for irritation if you are wearing a brace or immobilization device.
  • Make sure the tubing for the pain pump is not kinked.
  • Do not get the dressing wet
  • Follow physician instruction for showering or bathing, once the catheter(s) for the pain medicine have been removed

To protect the pump from damage

  • Use the carrying case to protect the pump during daily activities.
  • Do not put the pain pump in water or other liquids.

Pain pump catheter removal

Remove the catheter(s) in 48 hours or when the pump is empty, whichever comes first.

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Remove the dressing and any tape used to secure the catheter. Do not cut the catheter!
  3. Firmly grasp the catheter at the skin level. Pull gently away from your body. If there is resistance or you cannot remove the tubing, call your doctor.
  4. Inspect the tip of the catheter for a  series of blue or black dots leading to a solid marking on the tip of the catheter. If you don't see these markings, call your doctor at the numbers listed above.
  5. you may apply a band aid at the site. No ointment or antiseptic at the site is needed.
  6. Contact your doctor if you notice redness, warmth, pain, excessive drainage, or swelling at the catheter exit site.
  7. Throw the catheter(s), tape, and pump device into your household trash.

  8. Revised July 2012

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For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

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