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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Surgeries and Procedures > Spinal Anesthesia: Home Care and Complications

Spinal Anesthesia

Alternate Names : Intraspinal Anesthesia, Subarachnoid Anesthesia, "A Spinal"

Spinal Anesthesia | Preparation & Expectations | Home Care and Complications

What happens later at home?

A bandage is usually placed over the area on the back where the needle or tube was inserted. This should be left on for at least 24 hours. The area should not be disturbed. Little else needs to be done at home related to the spinal. Further home care may be needed for the surgery performed.

What are the potential complications after the procedure?

The most feared complication of anesthesia is death. This is thought to occur in roughly 1 out of every 10,000 people who have spinal anesthesia. It is not usually possible to predict who will have this type of severe reaction.

The most common problem after a spinal is a headache. This usually goes away within 24 hours. The headache often responds to pain medicine. Some people may need a repeat injection in the back to help the pain. Nausea is also fairly common for a few hours after the procedure.

Blood pressure can get very low during the procedure, but this usually doesn't cause problems. Allergic reactions and irregular heartbeats are rare complications of spinal anesthesia. Though often feared, nerve or spinal cord damage almost never occurs. Bleeding and infection can occur at the site of the needle injection. Other side effects may occur depending on the specific medicines used.

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Spinal Anesthesia: Preparation & Expectations


Author: Adam Brochert, MD
Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
Date Reviewed: 05/01/01

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