Most of the women who had a baby are aware of a Spinal Block or an Epidural. It is given in cases where the patient need not be completely sedated. Most commonly spinal block is used for pregnant women to get relief from labor pains during pregnancy. There is a difference between a Spinal block and epidural and one should not be confused with the other. In a Spinal block the injection is given in the sub arachnoid space of the spinal cord with a 9 inch needle and the anesthesia takes effect right away but it lasts only a couple of hours unlike an epidural where the needle is left in tact to give more medicine later if required.
Spinal Block is given at the L2 position and directly into the spinal fluid whereas in an epidural it is given in the space surrounding it and can be give at any site on the spine such as the lumbar,thoracic or cervical region. The Spinal Block is a one time shot only and takes effect much faster than an Epidural which takes anywhere up to 30 minutes to take effect. And an epidural doesn't cause much neuromuscular block(losing muscular function or the ability of the muscles to perform any work)whereas the Spinal block always causes the loss of muscle function for the duration of time it lasts.
Spinal Block must be done by an experienced doctor. Spinal Block gives immediate relief after injecting anesthesia. This method is safe for the patient. For pregnant women spinal block is the best way to get relief from labor pains since does not affect baby. When a person is undergoing serious surgery on his lower part of the body a spinal block plays a very important role in controlling the pain during surgery, and is easier for the doctor to complete the surgery.
While injecting an anesthetic, a consent form must be signed and the patient made aware of the complications caused if something goes wrong. The patient should be placed in a position so that the needle can pass through the epidural space easily. An ultrasound monitor is connected to observe the position of the needle. The area is cleaned before the local anesthetic is applied to the area where the spinal block is to be inserted. A pop sound is heard once the needle is placed in the correct position. The syringe containing the medication is attached and is injected for 10 to 15 seconds. The needle is carefully removed after injecting the anesthesia and the area is sterilized and dressed carefully.
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Spinal block is not possible in special cases such as,
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