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Regional Anesthesia Defined

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Updated January 04, 2009

regional-epidural anesthesia

Epidural Anesthesia Image

Image: A.D.A.M @ About.com
Definition: Regional Anesthesia is a method of pain prevention for surgeries and procedures. Instead of making the patient sleep through surgery, the area of the body that would feel pain is numbed, allowing the patient to have the procedure while awake.

One benefit of a regional anesthetic is the patient can be sedated or be fully conscious. A C-section is an example of a procedure performed with the patient awake, with regional anesthesia (epidural) used to control the pain of the surgery.

This type of anesthesia is provided by injecting specific sites with a numbing medication that works on the nerves of the body, causing numbness below the injection site.

Epidurals and other types of regional anesthesia are typically provided by a anesthesiologist or a nurse anesthetist (CRNA).

More About Anesthesia

Also Known As: epidural, block, regional block
Examples:
During child birth an epidural, a type of regional anesthesia, is used to help control the pain a laboring mother feels.

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