The Directorate specialises in Sedation, Local and General, Spinal and Epidural anaesthesia. Anaesthesia is the process of blocking the perception of pain and other sensations. This allows patients to undergo surgery and other procedures without the distress and pain they would otherwise experience.
- In general anaesthesia, patients are made unconscious for the operation and given powerful pain killers so that it is comfortable when they wake up.
- In regional anaesthesia, an area of the body is made completely numb.
- In local anaesthesia, the site of the operation is made numb.
Spinal and Epidural Anaesthesia
In Spinal and Epidural anaesthesia, the anaesthetic is applied in one of two places. Spinal anaesthesia is applied to the lower back or lumbar region after a sterile prep and draining, when anaesthetic is placed in the skin to numb the area where the spinal needle will be applied to dispense a local anaesthetic or narcotic. Epidural anaesthesia is again applied in the lower back or lumbar region, but may also be applied in the mid-back or thoracic region for surgery in the chest – the epidural needle, however, is placed between the vertebrae of the spinal column and is used to place a small catheter tube which will dispense the local anaesthetics and narcotics.
We routinely hydrate our patients to minimise the chance of blood pressure lowering. These methods are particularly useful for surgery on blood vessels, the chest and for post-operative pain control. It reduces blood loss and the risk of a stress reaction, and can be used in conjunction with general anaesthesia.
Indeed, we often combine our methods. At the Heart of England Foundation Trust, our anaesthetists match a pain management precisely to each patients' needs, working closely with the surgical directorate involved.