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What is a spinal anesthesia?
Spinal anesthesia is anesthesia of the lower body.
The anesthesiologist places local anesthetics through a needle in the lower back, passing between 2 vertebrae which allows to numb the nerves under spinal cord. Rest assured, we intervene low enough in your back, so as not to touch your spinal cord.
It is a frequent and safe anesthesia.
This anesthesia is different from epidural anesthesia in several ways:
- objective of complete anesthesia of the lower body
- Different injection space and type of medication
But the position to adopt and the site of insertion of the needle are identical
The position to adopt for performing this anesthesia is: either in a seated position, the tummy tucked in and lower back pulled back, i.e. lying down with knees pulled up against chest.
It is essential that the fast be observed, that an infusion is placed and that the surveillance devices are in place .
After the anesthesia, what will happen?
The duration of the anesthesia varies depending on the drugs used from several tens of minutes to several hours. During this period, it will be difficult if not impossible for you to move your legs.
You will gradually regain the function of your legs, then the sensitivity, the sensations of temperature and pain.
You can bring back music to listen to during the intervention (headphones, earphones and mp3 player or phone in airplane mode). You will be able to benefit from virtual reality (VR) devices depending on availability.
What are the advantages of this type of anesthesia?
- Lower risk of respiratory complications (infections, breathlessness)
- low risk of difficulty maintaining your oxygen supply during anesthesia
- Better pain relief after the procedure
- Less need for morphine and therefore fewer side effects (nausea-vomiting-constipation, ...)
- You can eat and drink quickly
- Less risk of confusion (especially in the elderly)
- Better recovery after bowel or blood vessel surgery)
- In the event of a cesarean section, you can stay awake and follow the birth of your child, most of the time being accompanied.
What are the side effects associated with this anesthesia?
The risks are lower than with general anesthesia. There are some specific risks (see below)
Risks more specific to spinal anesthesia
- Lower blood pressure (feeling unwell, nausea, fatigue, ...)
- Urine retention (temporary) requiring emptying of the bladder through a catheter
- Pain during the injection
- Headaches (related to anesthesia, fasting, anxiety, dehydration, ...)
- Hematoma at the injection site
- Prolonged numbness
Uncommon or rare :
- Severe or persistent headaches: related to a cerebro spinal fluid leak (persistence of a hole in the envelope which surrounds the nerves) Contact us if this appears.
- Temporary nerve damage: decreased sensation or prick or needle that can last several days to several weeks
- Overdose of anesthetics
- Ineffectiveness or partial effectiveness
- Allergic reaction
- Aggravation of a previous medical problem
Very rare or exceptional:
- Permanent nerve damage: paralysis / sensory disorders
- Difficulties in breathing related to a spinal anesthesia known as "total"
- Infection (meningitis, abscess, ...)
- Hematoma with medullary compression
- Hardware fault
Precautions after spinal anesthesia
The anesthesia goes away gradually, think about:
- Protect the still numb area so as not to injure yourself
- Do not place cold or hot things in order to avoid frostbite or burns
- In case of persistent weakness in the legs, do not walk without help