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Epidural anaesthetic

What is an epidural?

An epidural anaesthetic (or epidural) involves injecting local anaesthetics and other painkillers into an area called the epidural space, near your spinal cord. This numbs your nerves to give pain relief in certain areas of your body. An epidural can be used either on its own while you are awake, or together with sedation or a general anaesthetic. An epidural can also be used after an operation or procedure to give effective pain relief.

The epidural can be maintained by giving extra doses or by giving a continuous low dose.

What does the procedure involve?

epidural anaestheticYour anaesthetist will insert an epidural catheter using a needle (see figure 1). They will inject a small amount of anaesthetic through the catheter to check the position. Once they have completed this check, they will give more of the anaesthetic until the epidural is working properly.

The effect of the epidural can be varied by changing the type and amount of medication given.

What complications can happen?

  •  Failure of the epidural
  •  Low blood pressure
  •  Headache
  •  Respiratory depression
  •  Itching
  •  Difficulty passing urine
  •  Leg weakness
  •  Backache
  •  Seizures, caused by the local anaesthetics
  •  Unexpected high block
  •  Infection around the spine
  •  Cardiovascular collapse
  •  Blood clot around the spine
  •  Damage to nerves
  •  Paralysis or death


An epidural 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.

This procedure is available to NHS, self funding and privately insured patients at The Horder Centre.

Guide price for self pay patients

Epidural injection (lumbar/caudal)

  Consultation Diagnostics Treatment Care after discharge
Hospital costs Included £350 £1110 Included
Consultant costs £220 Included Included Included
Estimated total cost £1680
Estimated length of stay Day case

The guide price is correct as of 2nd March 2017

What's included

The prices in the table above (the “Guide Prices”) show what most patients should expect to pay at each appointment and on admission to hospital.

The Guide Prices you pay might be different depending on your medical history and the type of implant you choose or your Consultant advises is best for you.

Your price quotation will be made clear to you before you proceed with any tests, consultations or treatment.


Author: Dr Iain Moppett DM MRCP FRCA
Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © Nucleus Medical Art. All rights reserved.

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

Copyright © 2016 EIDO Healthcare Limited - The operation and treatment information on this webpage is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by the Horder Centre.

The intellectual property rights to the information belong exclusively to EIDO Healthcare Limited. You may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information other than for your personal, non-commercial use. The information should not replace any advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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