Spinal Anesthesia

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Spinal anesthesia is a local anesthetic injected into the spinal column in the third or fourth lumbar space to produce a regional neural block. If it is given too high, the respiratory muscles could be affected and respiratory distress or failure could result. There are 4 types of spinal anesthesia: subarachnoid block, epidural block, the saddle block, and a caudal block.

A subarachnoid block is the injection into the subarachnoid space in the third or fourth lumbar space to produce anesthesia.

The epidural block occurs when the anesthetic is injected into the outer covering (dura mater) of the spinal cord near the sacrum.

The saddle block is given at the lower end of the spinal column to block the perineal area for procedures such as childbirth.

The caudal block is placed near the sacrum.

The patient may experience headaches and hypotension as a result of these procedures because of a change in cerebrospinal fluid pressure when the needle is inserted into the spine. The patient should remain in the supine position following the procedure and increase fluid intake.

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