Spinal Anesthesia


Spinal anesthesia is a way to control pain during surgery.

A doctor or nurse with special training will give you a shot of the medicine. It's given near your spinal cord and the nerves that connect to it.

You may get this medicine for surgery on the lower part of your body. This includes your lower belly, hips, or legs.

Why it's used

Spinal anesthesia lets your doctor block pain from one area of your body. It's used instead of general anesthesia, which affects your whole body and puts you into deep sleep. Spinal anesthesia doesn't put you to sleep. It's less likely to affect your breathing. It also has fewer side effects.

Side effects

Major side effects from spinal anesthesia aren't common. It may affect blood pressure, breathing , heartbeat, and other vital functions. Your anesthesia provider will closely watch your vital signs during anesthesia and surgery. This includes your blood pressure and heart rate.

After your surgery, you may have a spinal headache. This is a headache that gets worse when you sit or stand up but goes away when you lie down. Your anesthesia provider may treat the pain with a shot called an epidural blood patch.


Current as of: June 23, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
John M. Freedman MD - Anesthesiology

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