New technology trumps narcotics

Gaining on pain: new relief is here.

Ever had a surgery and been prescribed pills that make you tired, loopy, sick to your stomach and downright confused? You probably were given narcotics. So many people have side effects from pain medication; it's surprising an alternative hasn't become more widely available.

Now A new technology is available for some types of surgeries that will help make recovery a less harrowing experience, providing patients more mobility and clear-headedness.

Dr. Guillermo Quetell, a Plastic Surgeon at Syracuse's Community General Hospital has been utilizing a new technology called the "ON-Q Painbuster" to help make his patients post-op recoveries faster and less painful.

Unlike narcotics, which affect the entire body, the ON-Q targets one affected area, allowing patients more control over the rest of their body when recovering.

The ON-Q is like a portable IV that is carried in a fanny pack on the patient's waist. It is a disposable pump that delivers a continuous flow of local anesthesia through small catheters (tubes) to the surgical site. The ON-Q decreases, and sometimes eliminates pain, as patients recover from major reconstructive surgeries, Quetell said.

"It [the ON-Q] has been an adjunct for my practice that I now encourage patients to get for almost anything that I do," he said.

Quetell uses the ON-Q for complex surgeries on the breasts, abdominal region and hands. This includes procedures such as breast reconstructions for mastectomy patients and tummy-tucks.

"I came into private practice around 2004 and I was starting to use it [the ON-Q] then," Quetell said. "It intuitively made a lot of sense to me to try to bathe the tissues with a local anesthetic."

The ON-Q delivers medication "passively," Quetell said, meaning that the patient doesn't have to press a button or do anything to have the medication delivered.

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