Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
195 Little Albany Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08903-2681
Please watch this entire video before removing your pump.
This video will teach you how to tell if your pump is working, how to care for it, and how to remove it.
A pain pump is used after surgery to deliver numbing medicine directly to the area that was operated on.
The medicine numbs the nerves near your incision so you have less pain.
The medicine continuously flows very slowly out of the pump through a small tube placed under the skin near your surgical incision.
The small tube, called a catheter, connects to the pump.
And a clamp and filter are attached along the tube.
You can wear a small pouch to hold the pump so you can go about your daily activities.
The pump gives you numbing medicine at a rate ordered by your surgeon. The rate on the pump cannot be changed.
You receive the medicine over 2 to 4 days.
When the pump is empty, you remove the tube and throw the pump and tube away.
How to tell if your pain pump is working.
The pump delivers medicine so slowly that you cannot see it moving in the tube.
It may take 24 to 48 hours before you notice a change in the size and look of the ball.
You can tell when the pump is working if:
your surgical site feels numb and the medicine reduces your pain;
the ball gradually gets smaller and smaller;
and the outside bag on the pump gets looser and begins to wrinkle.
The pump is empty when the bag looks flat, and you can feel a hard tube in the middle.
This usually takes 48 to 72 hours.
Caring for your pain pump.
Check your pain pump several Starts a day to make sure:
the clamp is open and slides easily;
nothing is covering the filter;
and there are no kinks or bends in the tubing.
If you notice the pump or tube is leaking, close the clamp and call your surgeon.
If the tube separates from the pump, DO NOT reconnect it.
Close the clamp and call your surgeon.
If the tube comes out of your skin, DO NOT put it back in.
Close the clamp and call your surgeon.
You should also close the clamp on the tube and call your surgeon if you notice: ringing or buzzing in your ears,
blurred vision, a metal taste in your mouth,
numbness or tingling in your fingers, toes, or around your mouth,
feel drowsy or confused,
increased pain, fever, chills, or sweats,
redness, swelling, warmth, or pain around the site where the tube enters your skin,
bleeding or discharge from the tube site, feel dizzy or light-headed,
Make sure to protect your pump, filter and tube from water.
Do not take a tub bath or put your pump under water, and, be sure to follow your surgeon’s instructions about showering.
When sleeping, keep the pump inside of the small pouch, and place it next to you on top of the covers.
This helps keep the tube loose and in place.
Do not put the pump under the covers, on the floor, or hang it from anything.
Materials for removing the pump.
To remove your pain pump, you will need: an adhesive bandage and a trash bag.
Removing the pump
Step one: Wash your hands with soap and water, and then dry them.
Step two: Gently loosen the bandage around the site where the tube enters your skin. Remove it by slowly peeling it back.
Step three: Remove the tape used to hold the tube in place.
Step four: Hold the tube close to the skin. Gently pull the tube out at a ninety-degree angle.
Do not tug or pull hard. The tube should come out easily.
If it feels hard to remove or stretches, stop and call your surgeon.
Continued pulling could break the tube.
Step five: After the tube comes out, check the tip for a black mark to make sure you removed the entire tube.
Call your surgeon if you do not see the black mark.
Step six: Cover the site where the tube entered your skin with an adhesive bandage.
Step seven: Throw away the tube, pump and bandages into a trash bag.
Checking the tube entry site the next day.
Step one: Wash your hands again, and then dry them.
Step two: Remove the adhesive bandage the next day and look at the site.
If you have redness, pain or warmth at the site, call your surgeon.