Epidurals – Not Just for Expectant Moms

Most people think of epidurals being something only used to ease the pain of childbirth.  They actually have a much wider use in pain management.

Larry Miguel credits an epidural with getting him through a major surgery pain free.

"What can I say?  They put an upside down smiley face, 22 inches in my stomach and removed my pancreas, 40 percent of it and my spleen at the same time,” said Miguel.

Miguel had this surgery after a bout with kidney stones lead to major discovery.  He has a huge mass on his pancreas that later proved to be cancerous.

Now a scar is evidence of the extensive incision and 88 staples that once covered his belly.   But he says he never had any pain.

"From the time I had the surgery to the time I left the hospital and even at home I never had pain, never ever."

"I think most people have heard about it as it pertains to labor," said Dr. Martin Serrins, chief of anesthesia at Danbury Hospital.

Dr. Serrins says epidurals are the main mode of pain management for many surgeries.

"We don't like people to hurt and basically it is pretty routine for us to do epidurals for all chest surgery or thoracic surgery, excluding open hearts and all abdominal surgery," he said.

He says occasionally they're not effective.  But they do have a profound impact on eliminating pain.

"The amazing part about it I wasn't groggy and I wasn't dysfunctional in any way," said Miguel.

Larry Miguel is glad the surgery's behind him.  

Recently, he received a clean bill of health showing he's cancer free.

"It's great news, I'll tell you, it really is,” he said.

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