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Procedure: Having a Regional Anaesthetic

A regional anaesthetic blocks the transmission of pain along a nerve or group of nerves. The anaesthetic is injected around targeted nerves, and you remain awake throughout the procedure. Regional anaesthesia can be used in many parts of the body. A spinal nerve block, shown here, anaesthetizes the whole of the lower body below the site of injection.

Cross section

Anaesthetized area

Spinal anaesthesia

The anaesthetist inserts a needle between two of the vertebrae in the lower spine until it reaches the fluid bathing the spinal nerves. He or she then injects the anaesthetic.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

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