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Kool Sling Shoulder Brace

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General Information

A peripheral nerve block catheter delivers numbing medicine (local anesthetic) near some of the nerves that give feeling to your surgery site. The block reduces your feeling of pain but may not take away all pain. Even with a nerve block, most patients still need to take prescription pain medicine.

Peripheral nerve blocks affect the nerves that control pain, feeling and movement. The nerve block may cause numbness, tingling, heaviness, warmth, weakness, or an inability to move your affected arm or leg. Effects of the nerve block will stop when the medicine wears off.


You may have some loss of feeling or loss of control at or around your affected arm or leg. Do not drive or operate heavy machines and do not put any weight on your affected arm or leg unless instructed and/or your surgeon says it is OK.

Wear your immobilizer/sling and use crutches as directed by your surgeon. 

How to Manage Your Pump   

There is nothing you need to do. The pump delivers medicine nonstop.

There is a dial on the pump tubing that controls how fast the medicine is delivered. The dial is set to flow at 10 ml/hr.. You will see a "10" in the flow rate window on the dial.

For increased pain at home, the dial can be changed to 14 ml/hr for the medicine to flow faster. Open the plastic cover and turn the dial key so the "14" is in the flow rate window.  Leave the dial at 14 ml/hr for 3 hours, then change it back to 10 ml/hr. You can turn it up as often as you like.

It may be 36 to 40 hours before the ball-shaped pump appears smaller. The pump is working as long as your pain is under control. You will see more wrinkles on the outside of the pump as it is working.   

If your pain is not under control, make sure the white plastic clamp on the tubing is open (moves freely on the tubing) and the tubing is not kinked.

Site and Pump Care

  • Keep the clear plastic dressing clean and dry.
  • If the edges of the dressing begin to curl or roll, add another dressing to secure it in place. DO NOT remove the dressing until it is time to remove the catheter.
  • You may have some drainage or leaking at the catheter insertion site. Drainage at the insertion site is not a concern as long as your pain is controlled.
  • The pump will be placed in a zippered pack. You may wear the pack wherever it is comfortable. Avoid dropping the pump because it may cause the catheter to move or come out.
  • You may not take a shower until the catheter is removed. Once the catheter is removed, follow your surgeon's instructions.

What do do When the Pump is Empty

When the pump is empty of fluid, remove the catheter. It will be empty 2 to 3 days after surgery.

How to Remove the Pump and Catheter

  • Wash your hands.
  • Remove the dressing.
  • The catheter may be removed when the dressing comes off.
  • Pull the catheter out slowly and steadily.
  • The catheter should pull out easily and should not hurt. If you have problems removing it or if you feel pain, stop and call the anesthesiologist.
  • There may be some clear drainage at the site if the pump has just emptied. 
  • Put on a bandage if needed.
  • Throw both the pump and catheter in the garbage.

If at any time before the pump is empty, the pump or catheter becomes disconnected, do not try to reconnect it. Call the anesthesiologist. 

Once the catheter is out, use the pain medication prescription you received. 

General Pain Information

On the day of surgery stronger numbing medicine is injected near the nerves that causes more numbness and may keep you from moving your affected arm or leg. The stronger medicine usually wears off 8 to 24 hours after surgery. Your arm or leg may feel different after this medicine wears off. You may feel less numb, be able to move more, and have more discomfort. 

The stronger numbing medicine often wears off in the middle of the night. Be sure to take your pain pills before you go tot bed on your first night home. 

It is recommended to take your pain pills as prescribed by your surgeon in addition to having this pump. 

When to Call the Anesthesiologist

Call the anesthesiologist if you have any of the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, and/or feeling disoriented
  • Signs of infection at the catheter site (tenderness, redness, swelling, drainage)
  • Pain not controlled by the pump and your pain pills
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Numbness/or tingling around your mouth
  • Metallic taste in your mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in your ears (tinnitus)
  • If the catheter comes out or pump becomes disconnected
  • Any questions or concerns

Whom to Call for Help

Orthopaedic Institute Surgery Center

Call 952-914-8406 during normal business hours Monday through Friday. If you reach the voicemail, leave a message and a nurse will call you back as soon as possible. We do have varying hours. If you do not receive a call back within an hour, please call Abbott Northwestern Hospital. 

Abbott Northwestern Hospital

Call 612-654-4291 for evenings, nights, weekends, and major holidays. Listen to the message, enter your phone number and hang up. You will receive a call back.

Removing Your Surgical Dressing

Follow your doctor’s instructions for when your surgical dressing should be removed at home.

  • Wash your hands.
  • Remove the dressing by only touching the edges.
  • Throw away the dressing in the garbage.
  • Wash your hands.

Changing a Dressing over Your Incision

If your doctor instructed you to remove your surgical dressing and apply a new dressing or Band-Aids, follow these directions.

  • Wash your hands.
  • Remove the old dressing by only touching the edges. Throw away the old dressing in the garbage.
  • Wash your hands again.
  • Open a dressing package or Band-Aid.
  • Touch only the edges of the new dressing/Band-Aid. Do not touch any part of the dressing that will cover the incision.
  • Place the center of the dressing/Band-Aid over the incision.
  • Tape all sides of the dressing securely (exception if using Band-Aids).
  • Wash your hands once the new dressing is on.

Caring For Your Incision

The following are general directions. Your doctor may have given you specific instructions.

  • Wash your hands before caring for your incision.
  • DO NOT apply any creams, salves, ointments or powders unless you have been told to do so.
  • If you were told to keep the incision dry, use plastic or a waterproof dressing to cover the incision when showering.
  • If you were told that the incision may get wet, you may take a shower. Remove your surgical dressing before you shower. After you shower, pat the incision site dry with a clean towel.
  • Do not take a tub bath, sit in a hot tub, or swim in a pool, river, or lake until your doctor says it’s OK.
  • Keep the incision site as clean and dry as possible.
  • Do not poke, scratch or rub your incision.
  • Your incision may have some drainage that is clear or slightly bloody. This is normal if the incision continues to drain less each day.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions for sutures, staples, Steri-Strips® or special dressings.

Sutures or staples will be removed at your follow-up appointment in the clinic.

Steri-Strips (thin paper-like strips over the incision) will begin to fall off as the incision heals. They do not need to be replaced unless you were instructed otherwise.

Signs of Infection

Look at the incision for any signs of infection. If you have any of the following signs, call your doctor:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Drainage that has an odor
  • Warmth around the incision site
  • Increased pain or tenderness at the incision
  • Incision opens up
  • Fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit, or greater, or start having chills