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The drugs numb your nerves to give pain relief in specific areas of your body. Spinals can be used on their own while you are awake or in combination with sedation or general anaesthetic. They can also be used after your procedure to give you effective pain relief.

How is spinal anaesthetic administered?

You will meet with the anaesthetist prior to your procedure and he/she will be with you throughout your time in theatre. Staff will assist you getting into a curled up position on a bed. You might be asked to bend forward and hug a pillow or to lie on your side curled up with your knees drawn toward your chest. We understand this can be an anxious time so staff will be with you to reassure and support you during the injection.

The anaesthetist will explain every step of the process. The injection should not be painful but it can be uncomfortable. You may feel pins and needles or tingling in your legs. Try to remain still and tell the anaesthetist if you are at all concerned.

When the spinal is working fully you will not be able to move your legs or feel any pain below your waist. When both you and your anaesthetist are happy that the anaesthetic has taken effect you will be prepared for surgery.

How long does a spinal last?

Spinal anaesthetic usually lasts between 1 to 3 hours. The anaesthetist will stay with you throughout your surgery monitoring the level of drugs in your body and making sure they take effect for the duration of your procedure.

What if I don’t want to be awake?

We understand you might want to sleep through your procedure. Just tell the anaesthetist if you do not want to see or hear any part of the procedure. You may be given sedation and fall into a deep sleep.

There may be clinical reasons not to use a spinal such as having an allergy to any of the drugs or materials used or having an infection at the site where the needle is inserted. Your anaesthetist will be able to suggest an alternative such as general anaesthetic or morphine after your surgery.

What are the advantages of having a spinal?

You should discuss all the your options for anaesthesia with your anaesthetist. Some of the advantages of having a spinal instead of general anaesthetic include:

  • Less confusion or groggy feeling after surgery
  • Better pain relief immediately after surgery
  • Reduced need for strong pain killers
  • Less nausea and vomiting
  • Earlier return to drinking and eating after surgery
  • Less impact on heart and lungs
  • Less risk of chest infections
  • What are the possible complications?

Everyone reacts differently to medication. As with any medical procedure you could experience some complications. These might include:

  • Failure of the spinal
  • Pain during the injection
  • Low blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Itching
  • Difficultly passing urine
  • Backache

Rare complications may include:

  • Nerve damage
  • Loss or change of hearing
  • Cardiovascular collapse
  • Allergic reaction
  • Infection around the spine
  • Paralysis or death

Are there any alternatives to a spinal anaesthetic?
There are several other types of anaesthetic. Your surgeon will recommend a type of anaesthetic based on your medical situation and the procedure you are having. Click on the links below to read about these procedures:

If you have any questions or concerns about spinal anaesthesia be sure and ask our experienced staff.

For more information about spinal anaesthetic visit The Royal College of Anaesthetists website.

Find your nearest hospital that provides this treatment
Bournemouth  

67 Lansdowne Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1RW

01202 291866
Overall rating View rating
Brentwood  

Shenfield Road, Brentwood, CM15 8EH

01277 695695
Overall rating Good
Brighton  

Warren Road, Brighton, BN2 6DX

01273 624488
Overall rating Good
Bristol  

3 Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1BN

0117 906 4870
Overall rating Good
Cambridge  

4 Trumpington Road, Cambridge, CB2 8AF

01223 370 922
Overall rating Outstanding
Cardiff and Vale  

Cardiff Bay Hospital, Dunleavey Drive, Cardiff, CF11 0SN

02920 836700
Cheltenham  

Hatherley Lane, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL51 6SY

01242 246 552
Overall rating Good
Chester  

Wrexham Road, Chester, CH4 7QP

01244 680 444
Overall rating Good
Chichester  

78 Broyle Road, Chichester, PO19 6WB

01243 530600
Overall rating Good
Derby  

Rykneld Road, Derby, DE23 4SN

01332 540100
Overall rating Good
Exeter  

Wonford Road, Exeter, EX2 4UG

01392 276 591
Overall rating Good
Glasgow  

25 Beaconsfield Road, Glasgow, G12 0PJ

01413349441
Guildford  

Stirling Road, Guildford, GU2 7RF

01483 555 800
Overall rating Good
Haywards Heath  

Burrell Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 1UD

01444 456999
Overall rating Good
Ipswich  

Foxhall Road, Ipswich, IP4 5SW

01473 279100
Overall rating Good
Leeds  

2 Leighton Street, Leeds, LS1 3EB

01133 882 067
Overall rating Outstanding
Leicester  

Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, LE5 1HY

0116 276 9401
Overall rating Good
Newcastle upon Tyne  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 1JP

0191 281 6131
Overall rating Good
North Staffordshire  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 4DB

01782 625431
Overall rating Good
Oxford  

Beech Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7RP

01865 307777
Overall rating Good
Plymouth  

Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8BG

01752 775861
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Shrewsbury  

Longden Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 9DP

01743 282628
Overall rating Good
Taunton  

Staplegrove Elm, Taunton, TA2 6AN

01823 286991
Overall rating Good
Tees  

Junction Road, Norton, Stockton on Tees, TS20 1PX

01642 367439
Overall rating Outstanding
Tunbridge Wells  

Kingswood Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4UL

01892 531111
Overall rating Good
Warwickshire  

The Chase, Old Milverton Lane, Leamington Spa, CV32 6RW

01926 427971
Overall rating Good
Wessex  

Winchester Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 2DW

02380 266 377
Overall rating Good
Woking  

Shores Road, Woking, GU21 4BY

Switchboard 01483 227800
Overall rating Good
Wolverhampton  

Wood Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, WV6 8LE

01902 793 269
Overall rating Good
York  

Haxby Road, York, YO31 8TA

01904 715000
Overall rating Good

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