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Morphine Caudal Block

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What is a caudal block?

A caudal block is a special type of anesthesia (Epidural). The doctor injects a small amount of morphine near the tailbone into the caudal space, which is an area through which nerves from the spinal cord pass. The effects of a morphine caudal block may last as long as 10-24 hours.

The caudal block is done while the child is asleep, before the surgery starts. The medicine bathes and numbs the nerves that carry feeling up to the spinal cord. It is a safe and effective way to decrease pain after surgery. Morphine caudals can be given to patients as young as three (3) months to adulthood. The final decision as to whether or not your child may have a morphine caudal block is made by your child's anesthesiologist and surgeon. Morphine may be combined with a local anesthetic for added pain relief (see Way to Grow, Local Anesthetic Caudal Block).

Why are morphine caudal blocks used?

Caudal block anesthesia relieves the pain your child feels when waking up from surgery and reduces the amount of general anesthetic needed during the procedure. The effects of the morphine caudal block last 10–24 hours.

Side effects of a morphine caudal block:

  • Skin itching (common)
  • nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty with urinating (rare)

If your child has severe skin itching or vomiting we can give him another medicine in his IV line to treat those side effects. A urinary catheter can be placed to empty your child’s bladder if he is not able to pass urine 8-10 hours after surgery.

What to expect:

  • Two monitors will be used to check your child’s breathing and oxygen level the first night.
  • Additional pain medications are rarely needed for the first 10-12 hours after receiving a morphine caudal block. We will also give your child a non-aspirin pain reliever as needed.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 09/2012

(757) 668-7000