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First, an intravenous line will be placed, generally in your hand. We will then bring you to the operating room and place several monitors on you, such as a heart, blood pressure and a pulse. These will enable us to monitor your vital signs throughout the procedure. Following placement of the monitors we will begin to give you some intravenous medication in order to decrease anxiety, as well as provide you with some pain relief.
After cleaning a small patch of your skin in the region of your neck, your collar bone or your upper arm, the local anesthetic is injected into the skin to decrease any pain associated with the performance of this procedure. After exact placement of the needle is confirmed, your physician will administer the medication through a small needle. If you and your physician had decided pre-operatively to place a catheter for more continuous administration of medication after the procedure, this will then be placed in the correct position. The procedure itself usually lasts 20 minutes.
Occasionally, patients describe a recurrence of their normal arm or shoulder pain during the administration of the medication. This is viewed as a reassuring sign that the medication is going to the right place, and the sensation should disappear very quickly.