regional anesthesia, your anesthesiologist makes an injection
near a cluster of nerves to numb the area of your body that
requires surgery. You may remain awake, or you may be given
continuous sedation at your request. You do not or feel
the actual surgery take place due to the blocking of the
nerves to the surgical site. These sedatives are very short
acting so you should be wide-awake shortly after you arrive
in our recovery room.
a sedative is used you may very well remember bits and pieces
of your time in the operating room, however you will remain
very calm and pain free.
are several kinds of regional anesthesia. Two of the most
frequently used are spinal anesthesia and epidural anesthesia,
which are produced by injections made with great precision
in the appropriate areas of the back. It seems that everyone
has a horror story to tell about someone many years ago
getting a spinal injury from this technique. As with everything
in medicine, things change. Spinal/Epidural anesthesia is
now a very safe and common anesthetic. Risk of neurological
injury is very rare and the reported risk of spinal headaches
is less than 0.5%. Many patients prefer the benefit of avoiding
the drugs of general anesthesia for a little sedation and
numbness. It is also quite interesting to note that a poll
of practicing Anesthesiologists choose regional anesthesia
for themselves more often than general anesthesia.
significant advantage of regional anesthesia is the ability
to extent the nerve block into the post-operative period
by use of an indwelling catheter. These can be placed blindly,
by ultrasound, x-ray, or use of a nerve stimulator. These
catheters allow your anesthesiologist to provide superior
pain control, while limiting the amount of narcotics needed
to control your pain. These blocks are most commonly preformed
in the neck or shoulder for arm and hand surgery, or in
the groin or back of the knee for leg and foot surgery.
catheters can be placed at appropriate levels of the spine
to provide pain relief for anything from chest to foot surgery.
post-operative comfort is a priority of your anesthesiologist,
so ask questions about your options.