Regional anesthesia is used during or after a medical procedure to keep you from feeling pain. It can completely block sensation to a large area of the body. It will not put you to sleep, but it is commonly used along with sedation. It may also be used with general anesthesia.
Epidural and spinal block are examples of regional anesthetics. They are used to numb the lower half of the body. Here's how they are administered:
- For an epidural, a needle is inserted into the epidural space around your spinal canal. A thin catheder is then threaded through the needle. The needle is removed and the catheder stays in place. This way, medication can be given through the catheter more than one time, with dosage increased or decreased as needed.
- With a spinal block, medication is injected through a needle directly into the spinal canal in your lower back.
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