WHAT IS A NERVE BLOCK?
A nerve block is an injection of a numbing medicine near specific nerves to decrease your pain after surgery. The nerve block is usually performed by your anesthesiologist before your surgery but DOES NOT replace having anesthesia for your surgery, nor does it replace the need for pain medication after your surgery.
BENEFITS AND PURPOSE OF NERVE BLOCKS:
The benefits and purpose of receiving a nerve block includes reducing your pain during and after your surgery with minimal use of narcotic pain medications. Narcotics have many common side effects such as nausea, vomiting, slowed breathing, itching, constipation, and sleepiness. By receiving a nerve block and reducing your narcotic intake during and after surgery, you will lessen the likelihood of unpleasant narcotic side effects.
Overall, receiving a nerve block helps get you back to your desired level of activity and prescribed physical therapy sooner and usually provides a more pleasant surgical experience.
SINGLE SHOT VS. CONTINUOUS PAIN CATHETER
Your surgeon and the type of surgery will determine if you receive a single shot block or a continuous pain catheter.
A single shot block…
is a one-time injection of a numbing agent. The duration of the block varies depending on the location of the block and the numbing medication used. Generally, the block may last 12-18 hours or longer, leaving the extremity extremely numb for the duration.
A continuous pain catheter…
is a thread-like tube placed when your surgeon wants you to receive a local anesthetic for several days. At the time of the nerve block procedure, a single shot injection is performed first, followed by the placement of a catheter (thread-like tube) near the targeted nerves. This thread-like tube will bathe the affected nerves with numbing medicine for several days.
The day of your procedure, your extremity will be extremely numb. In the days that follow, you will not be as numb but the surgical site should be reasonably comfortable. Before leaving the facility, the catheter is connected to a pain pump filled with numbing medicine. This pain pump will provide pain relief for several days.
HOW CAN THIS AFFECT YOUR BILL?
A nerve block is not billed as part of the anesthesia or surgical procedure. It is a separate billable procedure by both the facility and anesthesiologist. It is submitted separately to insurance carriers (when applicable) for reimbursement. All procedures, including nerve blocks, will be subject to your deductible, coinsurance and/or copay as determined by your insurance plan and the Andrews Institute Ambulatory Surgery Center contract with your insurance carrier.
For questions regarding your insurance and patient financial responsibility, please call the Andrews Institute Ambulatory Surgery Center at 850-916-8531.