Spinal and Epidural Anesthesia
(Spinal Block; Epidural Block)
Reasons for Procedure
- Pelvis, hips, and legs
- The ability to be awake during the operation
- Avoiding complications of general anesthesia
- Severe headache or back pain
- Drop in blood pressure
- Nerve damage
- Allergic reaction to the anesthetic used
- Longer labor during childbirth with an epidural anesthesia
- Bleeding disorders
- Prior allergic reactions to anesthetics
- Immune system disorders
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Your drug allergies
- Medications you are taking
- Any heart or lung conditions you have
- Any previous reactions that you or other family members have had to anesthesia
- Any bleeding problems you have had in the past
Description of the Procedure
- Blood pressure
- Oxygen content of your blood
- An IV to deliver fluids
- A tube in your bladder to keep urine drained
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Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
- Spinal anesthesia—begins working right after the injection is given
- Epidural anesthesia—takes about 10-20 minutes to begin working
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
For the first 24 hours:
- Do not drive or operate machinery.
- Do not drink alcohol.
- Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions .
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Persistent or severe headache or back pain
- Lightheadedness, fainting
- Weakness, numbness, or tingling in your arms or legs
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Skin rash
- Difficulty breathing
American Society of Anesthesiologists http://www.asahq.org
American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org
The Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society http://www.cas.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Spinal anesthesia simulation. University of Florida website. Available at: http://vam.anest.ufl.edu/simulations/spinalanesthesia.php. Accessed November 19, 2013.
Epidural anesthesia. Baylor College of Medicine website. Available at: https://www.bcm.edu/departments/anesthesiology/index.cfm?pmid=17799. Updated August 2010. Accessed November 19, 2013.
Your spinal anesthetic. Patient UK website. Available at: http://www.patient.co.uk/health/your-spinal-anaesthetic. Updated January 24, 2012. Accessed November 19, 2013.
6/3/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.
12/30/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Anim-Somuah M, Smyth RM, Jones L. Epidural versus non-epidural or no analgesia in labour. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;12:CD000331.
- Reviewer: Marcin Chwistek, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013 -
- Update Date: 09/30/2013 -