An anesthetist is also called an anesthesiologist. An anesthetist administers anesthetic to patients, who are going to undergo surgery or procedure. With a local anesthetic, the patient is numb only in a designated area where the medication is administered. General anesthetic involves a procedure where a patient is prepared for surgery by going to sleep and having sensation temporarily blocked. Anesthesia ensures that the surgical procedure be done without distress to the patient.
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:
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:
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.
Bibliography / Reference
Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: September 20, 2018