What is Patient Controlled Anesthesia (PCA)?

PCA or Patient Controlled Analgesia allows the patient to control how much and how often he or she receives intravenous pain medication. After surgery, when the patient has pain, he pushes a button to receive pain medication. Each push of the button will inject a specific dose of pain medication into the patient's IV. The pump is calibrated to give a certain amount of medication within a certain time period if the patient pushes the button. With this method the patient can get pain medication as often as he or she feels uncomfortable. With a PCA pump, the patient no longer has to call for pain medication and then wait for the nurse to deliver it. Patients are usually more comfortable and use less pain medication overall.