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Spinal and Epidural Anesthesia

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by Carson-DeWitt R

(Spinal Block; Epidural Block)

 

Reasons for Procedure

Spinal and epidural anesthesia is frequently given for surgeries involving:
Advantages of these types of anesthesia include:
 

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Make sure that your doctor is aware of:
  • 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

You will be connected to various monitors to keep track of your:
  • Blood pressure
  • Pulse
  • Oxygen content of your blood
You may also have:
  • An IV to deliver fluids
  • A tube in your bladder to keep urine drained
An area on your back above the spinal cord will be cleaned. A local anesthetic will be injected into the skin to numb the area. This is to decrease pain from the larger needle that will be put in your back. If you are getting spinal anesthesia, the doctor will give you one injection. The medication will be sent directly into the sac of fluid that surrounds the spinal cord.
If you are getting epidural anesthesia, it may be delivered the same way. But, if you need more than one dose, you will have a tiny, flexible tube in place just outside of the fluid sac. This allows the doctor to give you more medication if you need it. After the surgery, a bandage will be placed over the injection spot.
Epidural Injection
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Immediately After Procedure

You will stay in bed until your legs are no longer numb.

How Long Will It Take?

Giving spinal or epidural anesthesia usually takes about 15 minutes.
  • 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?

You will feel some pain when the needle is inserted.

Average Hospital Stay

Your hospital stay depends on the type of surgery being done.

Postoperative Care

At the Hospital
If you received epidural anesthesia, the tube may be left in place to give you more medication. When you no longer need pain control, the tube will be removed.
At Home
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
  • For the first 24 hours:
    • Do not drive or operate machinery.
    • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions .
 

RESOURCES

American Society of Anesthesiologists
http://www.asahq.org

American Academy of Family Physicians
http://familydoctor.org

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

The Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society
http://www.cas.ca

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

 

References


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.

 

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