Font Size
A
A
A

Epidural Anesthesia


Epidural anesthesia is the injection of a numbing medicine into the space around the spinal nerves in the lower back. The medicine numbs the body below the point of injection, but the person may remain awake and may have some control of the numbed area.

The skin where the needle will be inserted is first numbed with a local anesthetic. A guide needle is inserted and then removed, and a catheter remains in place. The anesthetic is then injected through the catheter. Medicine that makes the person sleepy also may be used by injecting it into a vein, depending on the procedure being done.

Epidural anesthesia may be used for certain types of surgery on the lower body or to control pain during childbirth. When a woman has an epidural anesthetic during childbirth, she will feel little or no pain from her contractions.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerJohn M. Freedman, MD, MD - Anesthesiology
Last RevisedSeptember 30, 2011

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit Healthwise.org

© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.






Medical Dictionary