Spinal Block

Facts About the Spinal Block Procedure

A spinal block is a spinal anesthesia often called a “spinal.” In this procedure, a narcotic or anesthetics such as fentanyl, bupivacaine or lidocaine is injected below the spinal column directly into the spinal fluid, which provides pain relief for as long as 2 hours.
It is easy to confuse a spinal block and spinal epidural because they are both injections into the spinal area. For a spinal block, narcotics or anesthetic is injected once with a needle. For a spinal epidural or combined spinal-epidural, a catheter is placed in the epidural space to allow continuous anesthesia.

Spinal blocks are not widely administered today because of the preference for epidurals. However, they can be used in a more complex birth situation or a cesarean delivery.

What you need to know about a spinal block

A spinal block may cause one or more of the following conditions:

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Compiled using information from the following sources:
William’s Obstetrics Twenty-Second Ed. Cunningham, F. Gary, et al, Ch. 19.
Danforth’s Obstetrics and Gynecology Ninth Ed. Scott, James R., et al, Ch. 3.
Mayo Clinic Guide To A Healthy Pregnancy Harms, Roger W., M.D., et al, Part 2.
Ransjo-Arvidson A et al. Maternal analgesia during labor disturbs newborn behavior: effects on breastfeeding, temperature, and crying. Birth 28(1):5-12.

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