What is an Epidural?
What is this procedure and does anyone have any first hand experience with an epidural for yourself, spouse or family member? Please explain and elaborate.
Epidural is short form of epidural anasthesia which is a form of anasthesia, as the medicine is injected into the epidural space(the outermost part of the spinal canal) through a catheter. It works just the same way as a local anaesthetic. The anaesthetic temporarily blocks the nerves that carry pain signals.
An "epidural" involves the placement of a small catheter into the epidural space to run a dilute local anesthetic infusion with or without a narcotic. They are used to treat post-operative pain after major abdominal or thoracic surgery. They are also used to provide analgesia for labor. In some cases of low back pain and sciatica, an epidural steroid injection will be administered to treat the pain.
In layman's terms, the spinal cord is surrounded by a tissue sack. The epidural space is just outside this tissue sack. An anesthesiologist will use a special technique with a special needle and syringe to place the tip of the needle between the bones of your back into this space. While a single dose of medication can be administered and the needle removed (such as the epidural steroid injection), usually for labor or post-op pain, a catheter (small plastic tube) is inserted through the needle before the needle is removed. The medication is administered through this catheter to treat pain or provide labor analgesia.
The difference between an epidural and a spinal is, an epidural stays outside the tissue sack, the spinal pierces it.
I have had an epidural after major abdominal surgery and it helped cut down the amount of pain medicine I needed. I was able to walk around even though my stomach was partially numb.
For women who choose to have a c-section childbirth, an epidural is used for pain relief while having this major surgery. Me personally, I've had both of my children via c-section and I requested an epidural during both procedures. This procedure requires that the patient be very still because the slightest movement could cause paralysis. First the anesthesiologist prepares you for the epidural by having the patient to bend forward as much as possible. Then they carefully insert the epidural into the patient's spine. The patient slowly starts to feel numbness from the waist down. The lower half of your body feels extremely heavy. After the surgery is over with, the patient is then placed in the recovery room. That heavy feeling slowly subsides and they begin to regain feeling and movement in the lower half of their body. I'm not quite sure if an epidural is used in other surgical procedures, but this procedure is done when a woman has a c-section. I hope this answers your question.
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