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Spinal Anesthesia

Spinal anesthesia is administered through injection to anaesthetize or numb the lower part of the body before performing surgery on the patient. Spinal anesthesia is a type of regional anesthesia and will block the pain below the site of the injection. This kind of anesthesia is injected into the spine of the lower back through a long needle. The medicine is directly administered into the fluids surrounding the spine. This is normally given between L3 - L4. Unlike general anesthesia, here the patient is awake and conscious during the procedure.

Surgeries performed under spinal anesthesia

Spinal anesthesia suits simple surgical procedures involving short duration. It is a single shot and hence medicine is given only once and no catheter is placed for further medication. Once the medicine is administered, spinal anesthesia starts working instantly. As soon as the shot is given, patient will begin to experience a hot feeling in the lower part of the body and subsequently the area becomes numb. Spinal anesthesia is appropriate for the surgeries performed below the umbilicus like:

  • Vaginal repair or vaginal hysterectomies
  • Hernia operation
  • Piles
  • Varicose veins
  • Orthopaedic surgeries on the legs, pelvis
  • Prostate removal
  • Operation on genitals
  • Surgery for trauma on lower limbs

Spinal anesthesia procedure

Firstly, patient will be positioned appropriately. The patient will be made to sit on the edge of the operating table keeping the stool under the legs for support or the patient will be made to lie down on one side, knees tucked up to the chest. Once positioned, the lower back will be cleaned with antiseptic lotion. Small dose of local anesthesia will be given at the site where the spinal will be administered so that patient does not feel the piercing pain. The anesthetist administers the spinal injection and will remain in the operation theatre throughout to check the progress and the effect of anesthesia.


Spinal anesthesia complications

Spinal anesthesia is less risky when compared to general anesthesia. Patient can return to normalcy in no time and also there are less chances of developing chest and lung infections and other respiratory disorders. However, spinal anesthesia may give rise to few side effects like:

  • Headache
  • Itching on the body
  • Low blood pressure

These conditions are quite manageable and treatable and will wane off within few hours after the procedure. Neurological injury is an extremely rare complication that may be caused by spinal anaesthesia.

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Bibliography / Reference

Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: July 19, 2019