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4 Types of Regional Anesthesia

Peripheral Nerve Blocks

A needle is placed along the path of nerves to your arm or leg to inject numbing medicine, and depending on the particular medication, you may experience from 4 to 20 hours of pain relief. If a peripheral nerve block catheter (tube) is placed near nerves instead of a single injection, numbing medicine is given continuously using a portable pump to reduce pain for days—you may also have a button to safely give yourself more numbing medicine as you need it. In either case, you will have back-up pain medicines available by mouth or your IV for pain not treated by the nerve block, or for when the block wears off.

Epidurals

A needle is placed between the bones of the back for injection of pain relieving medicines. Most often a small catheter is left in place and the needle removed. Then, continuous numbing and pain relieving medicines are given by portable infusion pump through this epidural catheter (usually along with a button for extra doses) to help reduce or prevent pain. In either case, you can lie, sit, and usually walk with an epidural. Typically, we use this catheter for several days during your recovery until you are able to take pills to control your pain.

Spinals

A thin needle is placed between the bones of your back, and a single injection of numbing medicine is made to numb both legs usually up to your waist. We choose spinal medicines that last from 1 to 8 hours, depending on the predicted length of your surgery and your recovery needs.

Abdominal Wall Blocks

A needle is placed in between the inner muscles of the abdominal wall using ultrasound guidance. Numbing medicine is then injected to bathe the nerves that provide sensation to the abdomen. Depending on the type of medication used, you may experience from 24-36 hours of pain relief. 

Quick Reference

Anesthesiology

Preoperative Assessment Clinic
336-716-3245
Pain Services - Brookstown
336-716-8777
Pain Services - Lexington
336-716-4090
Malignant Hyperthermia
336-716-7194
Academic Office Phone
336-716-4498
Academic Office Fax
336-716-8190

Department of Anesthesiology
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Medical Center Blvd
Winston-Salem, NC 27157
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Last Updated: 04-25-2017
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