Spinal anaesthesia involves local anaesthetic and pain medicine being injected into the fluid surrounding your spinal cord. This will block any sensation of pain in the lower half of your body. You will temporarily be unable to move your legs however this allows surgery to occur in a painless, comfortable and safe manner.
There are several potential advantages to this type of anesthesia. These include:
- Prolonged pain relief for painful procedures
- Minimal nausea and vomiting when compared with general anesthesia
- Decreased risk of postoperative confusion, particularly in the elderly
- Increased safety in patients with cardiorespiratory illness
- The ability to be awake during surgery if required, for example during caesarian section
There are also some specific but rare risks of spinal anesthesia. These include:
- Failure of the block (which can be remedied easily)
- Severe headache
- Minor nerve injury which should resolve
- Major nerve injury as a result of localised infection or bleeding
Your anaesthetist will discuss your individual risks with you. We encourage you to raise your specific questions and concerns with them prior to your procedure.