Epidural and Spinal Anesthesia:
With this type of anesthesia, medicine is placed around nerves in your back, blocking pain and allowing you to be comfortable during or after surgery.
With an epidural, a small, flexible catheter is placed in your back near nerves that supply feeling to the surgical area, and medicine is run continuously through the catheter to provide pain relief. Epidurals can be used to provide pain relief during surgery itself or to reduce pain after surgery. When your pain is well controlled after surgery, you will be able to sleep better, get out of bed and move around earlier and easier after surgery, take deep breaths to prevent pneumonia, and avoid the side effects of narcotic pain medication. Epidurals are also used for the treatment of pain during labor. An epidural is a safe procedure and can be left in place for several days as necessary.
With a spinal, a one-time dose of medicine is placed in the fluid part of the spine where the nerves are that supply feeling to the surgical area. This makes the surgical area completely numb so you will not feel any pain during the surgery. A spinal last only a few hours and is often used during Total Joint Replacement surgery and other surgeries below the waist. Even though you will not feel any pain during surgery, most times you will also receive medication in your IV MAC so you can be sleepy during the surgery.
Some possible side effects/complications of Epidural and Spinal anesthesia are:
- Bruising and mild discomfort at the injection site
- Rare Complications: Bleeding, Infection, Nerve injury