Understanding Anesthetics Types of anesthesia and how they affect the body.

Interscalene Block Discharge Instructions

If you received an interscalene block, for post-operative shoulder pain, this is what you need to know upon discharge.

You have had an interscalene block to help in the management of post-operative pain. You may have some breakthrough pain despite the block. Do not hesitate to take the pain medicine your surgeon has prescribed if needed.

The block will help decrease your pain for approximately sixteen hours (give or take several hours). You should take the pain medicine as soon as you feel it wearing off. If you stay ahead of the pain, it is better.

Sometimes nerves that are close to the shoulder nerves also go to sleep. Often, a nerve called the recurrent laryngeal nerve, that curves close to the shoulder nerve will go to sleep. This will cause you to have a droopy eyelid and a hoarse voice. You may find swallowing to be a little difficult. This will wear off when the block wears off. Be sure to chew your food well and eat and drink slowly.

Frequently, one of the breathing nerves that run close to the shoulder nerves also goes to sleep. Although you may feel like you can’t take a deep breath, this is normal and not cause for panic. You have a lot of extra breathing capacity for strenuous exercise.

Tonight hopefully, you will rest and not need the extra breathing capacity. If you sleep with your head up or sitting in a chair, you may find that to be helpful. We have monitored your oxygen level in the recovery room and made sure it’s acceptable before we send you home.