What is a local anaesthetic?

A local anaesthetic is a drug that is injected into the tissues to make them numb.

Local anaesthetics temporarily stop nerves working so that you do not feel pain. The simplest form of local anaesthesia is to inject anaesthetic just around the area where the operation is going to take place. It is also possible to numb all the nerves to an arm or a leg (called a nerve block).

Are there any alternatives to a local anaesthetic?

If you are concerned about being awake during the operation, it may be possible for it to be performed under a general anaesthetic. Other forms of anaesthesia may be possible, such as an epidural or nerve block.

» Read more about general anaesthetics

What complications can happen?

  • Not enough pain relief
  • Allergic reaction
  • Bleeding
  • Nerve damage
  • Absorption into the bloodstream
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Information leaflet

This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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Iain Moppett (DM, MRCP, FRCA)
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The operation and treatment information on this webpage is produced using information from EIDO Systems International and is licensed by Horder Healthcare. The information should not replace the advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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