This spinal epidural procedure is done prior to the onset of a surgical procedure. It requires the use of anesthesia to be injected into the lower extremities and hip region, numbing them. During the course of the surgical procedure, the patient is awake and attentive, assisting in providing necessary feedback during the course of the surgical procedure.
Prior to the start of this procedure, the patient is directed to sit upright, exposing the lower back. The skin surface is sterilized with the use of an antiseptic solution. A local anesthetic is then injected into the lower back, creating a numbing sensation that permeates all the way to the spine. A second needle is then utilized and guided into the epidural space, via the already numbed tissue. The needle then stops just before the dura (a sac-like structure that envelops the nerve roots). In the event a catheter is needed, it is pushed through the needle already in place.
Once the needle reaches the desired location within the epidural space, the anesthesia is carefully and slowly injected into the intrathecal space. This helps to create a numbing sensation that the patient usually starts to experience within 20 minutes after the injection has occurred.
Once the injection has been done, the needle is slowly extracted. The numbing sensation can be expected to last for a period of up to several hours, ensuring the patient is comfortable enough during the surgical procedure to follow. In the event a catheter was used during the course of the injection, it is kept in place just in case the patient may require more anesthesia to be injected. Once it is deemed that the patient will no longer require any further anesthesia to be injected, the catheter is removed and the injection site is covered up with a bandage.