Spinal anesthesia is also known by other names such as sub-arachnoid block (SAB) or spinal analgesia. It is a local anesthetic procedure which involves injecting the sub-arachnoid region with local anesthetic.
The evolution of Spinal Anesthesia dates back to 1885 with the development of this procedure by an American neurologist named Leonard Corning. He demonstrated the effect of spinal anesthesia by injecting cocaine into the spine of a dog.
The first spinal anesthesia was however done on a human being in 1898 by August Bier also using cocaine. Bier used the medication for leg surgery. Cocaine was later discontinued due to its toxicity. Today substances like lidocaine fetanyl or bupivacaine are used for spinal anesthesia. Other drugs used are cinchocaine, mepivacaine, pethidine/meperidine and ropivacaine. The effect usually lasts for about two hours.
Spinal anesthesia is usually carried out for surgery of the legs, hips or pelvis. It is most commonly used during childbirth. One advantage is that the patient is conscious during the procedure. This allows the doctor to have an interaction with the patient at all times.
There are two types of spinal anesthesia, spinal and epidural. Although the functions are more or less the same, there are certain basic differences which are given below:
Some of the main features of spinal anesthesia are as follows: