Regional anesthesia refers to an anesthetic in which a specific part of your body is numbed for surgery or a procedure. There are three type of regional anesthesia.
1. Spinal: a local anesthetic is injected into the space surrounding the spinal cord, in the area of your lower back. You will lose all feeling from your waist down and will not be able to move your legs or feet. A spinal anesthetic is commonly done for c-sections, orthopedic procedures such as hip replacements or total knee replacements, and some procedures of the colon, bladder, and reproductive systems.
2. Epidural: Epidural analgesia is most commonly used to help manage pain during labor. It can also be used to control pain after large abdominal procedures. If an epidural is in place for labor pain management, additional medication may be added to provide anesthesia if a c-section is necessary. During an epidural procedure, local anesthetic is injected into the epidural space to decrease pain sensation from the xiphoid to the hips.
3. Peripheral Nerve Blocks: The physicians at AAPA are experts in Regional Anesthesia. Using ultra-sound guided techniques, your anesthesiologist places medication around a selected nerve or group of nerves to numb the area and block any sensation of pain. Medication is given to relax you prior to the regional block procedure. The anesthesiologist uses the ultrasound machine to guide the placement of the medication. Shortly after the block is performed, your arm or leg will begin to feel numb and heavy. After some types of regional anesthesia you will lose the ability to move your arm or leg. Movement and feeling will return after the medication wears off.
Regional anesthesia reduces the risk of nausea or vomiting after your procedure as it significantly reduces the medication needed for your procedure. It also eliminates the need to place a breathing tube since you are to breathe for yourself and maintain your airway. If needed, additional medication may be administered during your procedure to relax you and keep you comfortable.
Some regional blocks are administered for the purpose of post-operative pain control and usually keep you pain-free for up to 24 hrs after your procedure. This decreases the need for narcotics in the early recovery period. The block will gradually wear off and feeling and movement will return to your extremity. Please contact us if your arm or leg still feels numb after 24 hrs.