First Time User? Sign Up Now
First Time User? Enroll now.
Home > Health Library > Epidural Anesthesia
Epidural anesthesia is the injection of a numbing medicine into the space around the spinal nerves in the lower back. The medicine numbs the body below and sometimes above the point of injection. The person may remain awake and may have some control of the numbed area.
The skin where a needle will be inserted is first numbed with a local anesthetic. Next, the needle is inserted, and a catheter is threaded through the needle into the epidural space. Then the needle is removed, while the catheter stays in place. The anesthetic is then delivered through the catheter. Medicine that makes the person sleepy also may be used by injecting it into a vein, depending on the procedure being done.
Epidural anesthesia may be used for certain types of surgery on the lower body or to control pain during childbirth. When a woman has an epidural anesthetic during childbirth, she will feel much less pain from her contractions.
Current as of:
March 28, 2018
Medical Review:Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & John M. Freedman, MD - Anesthesiology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
1430 N Salem Street
Apex, NC 27502
2615 Lake Drive
Raleigh, NC 27607
901 Ridgefield Drive
Raleigh, NC 27609
4420 Lake Boone Trail
Raleigh, NC 27607
357 Carolina Arbors Drive
Durham, NC 27703
UNC REX Healthcare4420 Lake Boone TrailRaleigh, NC 27607, USA919-784-3100
Chosen for Excellence
Co-Worker & Physician Login
UNC Health Talk
Copyright 2019 UNC Health Care. All rights reserved.