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Regional Anesthesia

You will meet your anesthesiologist prior to your surgery. You may also receive a phone call and/or have a preoperative appointment to review preoperative instructions. The instructions that you receive are tailored to your specific needs so please adhere to them.

What is Regional Anesthesia?

Regional anesthesia involves using medications called local anesthetics to reduce sensation in a selected region of the body to help with pain control. Regional anesthesia works directly on the nerves and does not circulate to the brain like general anesthesia. This can minimize the sedation and nausea that can sometimes follow general anesthesia.


For some surgeries, we may offer a regional anesthetic through a catheter. This catheter will infuse numbing medication to one or more of the nerves that go to your surgical site. For example, for total knee replacements, we often offer a catheter that will infuse numbing medication to one of the nerves to your knee. This is to help with pain control, even after you discharge. If this is an option for you, your anesthesiologist will discuss it with you. Below is a guide for peripheral nerve catheters for more information. (Clicking below will open a new window).

What is a spinal?

A spinal involves placing a one-time dose of numbing medication in your lower back. It decreases sensation from your waist down, and can be used for lower extremity surgeries. Please let your anesthesiologist know if you have any bleeding disorders or if you are taking any blood-thinning medications.

What are the risks?

All procedures, including placing a nerve block, involve some degree of risk. The nature of your operation and your overall pre-operative condition are important factors that are considered when estimating the risks for your particular operative experience. Your anesthesiologist will review your specific risks, and may or may not offer you a peripheral nerve block and/or a spinal.

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