A spinal anaesthetic can be used for most people, usually giving a safe and effective form of pain relief both during and after an operation or procedure.
What is a spinal anaesthetic?
A spinal anaesthetic (or spinal) involves injecting local anaesthetics and other painkillers into an area called the subarachnoid space, near your spinal cord. This numbs your nerves to give pain relief in certain areas of your body. A spinal can be used either on its own while you are awake, or together with sedation or a general anaesthetic. A spinal can also be used after your operation to give effective pain relief.
How is a spinal anaesthetic given?
Your anaesthetist will insert a needle, inject anaesthetic through it and then remove the needle. It should not be painful, although it can be uncomfortable.
A spinal anaesthetic usually lasts for one to three hours. The anaesthetist will put enough anaesthetics through the needle to make sure that it lasts longer than the expected length of the operation.