Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA)
Hospitals often use a patient-controlled intravenous analgesia (PCA) system for acute pain following surgery. The patient is given a control button, which delivers a dose of pain reliever when pushed. Although the dose is smaller than would be used with injected drugs, relief occurs right away because the medication is released directly into the bloodstream. Many studies on pain management support this method of treatment. Pain is usually better controlled with less medication when compared to scheduled (every 4 hours as needed) pain control.