3 Types of Regional Anesthesia

Peripheral Nerve Blocks

A needle or catheter is placed along the path of nerves to your arm or leg. Numbing medicine is injected, and depending on the particular medication, you may experience from 4 to 20 hours of pain relief. If a peripheral nerve block catheter is used, numbing medicine is given continuously to prevent pain for days— plus you may have a button to safely give yourself more numbing medicine as you need it. Always, you will have back-up pain medicines available by mouth or your IV.


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 given through this epidural catheter (along with a button for extra doses) will help reduce or prevent pain. In either case, you can lie, sit, and usually walk with an epidural. Commonly, we use this catheter for several days during your recovery--usually until you are able to take pills to easily control pain.


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

Abdominal Wall Blocks

A needle is placed in between the inner muscles of the abdominal wall using ultrasound guidance. Numbing medicine is injected between the muscle layers of the abdomen to bathe the nerves that provide sensation to the abdomen. Depending on the type of medication used, you may experience from 24-72 hours of pain relief. 

Quick Reference


Academic Office Phone
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Malignant Hyperthermia
Preoperative Assessment Clinic

Department of Anesthesiology
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Medical Center Blvd
Winston-Salem, NC 27157
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Last Updated: 09-19-2016
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