Patient-Controlled Epidural Analgesia (PCEA)


This is a method of pain control. With it, you push a button attached to an IV pump device to give yourself a dose of pain relief medication. PCEA is often used to ease the pain of childbirth. It can also be helpful in the days immediately after some surgical procedures.

How it Works

The PCEA system uses a pump that delivers medication to you through a catheter and into the epidural space of your spine. This is the space that surrounds your spinal nerves. For the insertion of the catheter, you sit or you lie on your side to expose your lower back. Your skin is cleansed and numbed. A needle is inserted and is carefully pushed into your epidural space. When it is positioned correctly, a catheter is pushed through the needle and the needle is removed.

Using the System

The other end of the catheter is connected to a medicine pump. Using a controller, you press a button to send a dose of pain medication through the catheter. The pump is programmed to allow only so many doses in a specific time period. This prevents an overdose. Your healthcare provider will show you how to use the PCEA system to control your pain effectively.