Going Home after an Upper Extremity Nerve Block
Checked below is the type of nerve block
you received. Please read this handout to
help with your care at home. The length of
time the block will last varies widely
Axillary (8 – 24 hours)
Interscalene (12 – 24 hours)
Supraclavicular (12 – 24 hours)
Infraclavicular (12 – 24 hours)
Bier or “IV local” (Operative and
short term post-op pain control)
Protect your arm or hand from extreme heat
or cold. Do not put any pressure on the arm
or hand. Always be able to see your arm or
hand. Keep your arm or hand raised on
pillows. Sleep on your back with your head
raised so you do not put pressure on your
numb arm or hand. Do not smoke while
numbness is present. While awake, you
may use a sling while your arm or hand is
clumsy until you have regained control and
Paravertebral (12 – 24 hours)
This block can be used to numb exact areas
of the body. At the chest and abdomen
level, it can be used for many types of
breast, chest and abdominal surgeries. At
the level of the hip, it can be used for
surgeries of the hip, knee, and front of the
thigh. The anesthesiologist will meet with
you before your surgery to discuss your
If you have pain, you can start taking the
oral pain medicine that your doctor has
prescribed for you. Do not take extra
Tylenol® (acetaminophen) if you have been
prescribed any of the medicines listed
Vicodin® (hydrocodone &
Norco® (hydrocodone &
Percocet® (oxycodone &
Tylenol® #3 (codeine &
If you have not had any pain before going to
bed, there is a good chance that the
numbness will wear off in the middle of the
night. For this reason, you may take your
pain medicine before going to bed. We
suggest that you set your alarm for 4 – 6
hours to see if you need to take more pain
medicine. The oral pain medicine will take
20 to 30 minutes to start working, so don’t
wait until you are in a lot of pain because it
will be harder to get the pain under control.
You should have someone, age 16 or older,
stay with you for the rest of today and
tonight. This is for your own safety.
You may feel a little sleepy for the next 12
to 24 hours. This is partly due to the
medicines you receive during and after
surgery. Rest and relax for the next 12
hours. Avoid hazardous or strenuous
For the Next 24 Hours, Even if You Feel
ξ Do not drive a car, motorcycle, or bike.
ξ Do not run machinery or power tools.
ξ Do not drink alcohol or use drugs that
have not been approved.
ξ Do not make any important personal or
business decisions, or sign important
ξ Follow your doctor’s advice about
ξ Be careful when you sit or stand up after
being in bed for a long time. You may
become dizzy if you sit or stand too
For the rest of today, slowly start by
drinking clear liquids such as water, apple
juice, and soft drinks. If you feel okay, then
try soup, soda crackers, and other foods that
are easy to digest. Avoid spicy or fatty
foods. Be sure to drink glasses of clear
liquids often to avoid dehydration.
Tomorrow, you can eat as you wish.
Call if you have
ξ A fever above 100°F (by mouth) or 99°F
(under the arm) for 2 readings taken 4
ξ Trouble breathing or a “wet sounding”
cough that doesn’t go away.
ξ Frequent vomiting after getting settled at
home (more than twice).
ξ Trouble passing urine by late tonight or
you have a painful, full bladder.
ξ Prolonged numbness lasting longer than
you were told to expect.
ξ In an Emergency, call 911.
Your surgeon is Dr. _________________
from the ________________________
The clinic phone number is
Your anesthesiologist is Dr.
If you live outside the area, call:
After hours, weekends, and holidays, call
(608) 262-0486. This is the paging operator.
Ask for the doctor on call for the Anesthesia
Acute Pain Service. Leave your name and
phone number with the area code. The
doctor will call you back. If you had
surgery at The American Center, ask for the
TAC Anesthesiologist on-call.
The staff at the Outpatient Surgery Center
will call you at home or work on the next
working day after your procedure. We will
ask a few questions about your recovery and
the care you received. Let us know if this is
not possible or may be a problem.
We wish you a quick recovery.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 8/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing HF#6834.