What are the risks of spinal and epidural anesthesia?

Spinal and Epidural anesthesia are very safe and effective means of controlling pain both during and after surgery. The main risks are the following:

  1. Anytime you break through the skin's natural protective layer, there is an increased risk of infection
  2. There is also a risk of bleeding, both internally and externally. If you are at high risk for this (i.e. on Coumadin, Plavix or aspirin), your labs will be checked before the procedure to minimize this risk
  3. Increased risk of headache as a small hole is introduced into the central nervous system's encasing. Headaches are usually short lived if they are present. 

As always with any procedure, the risks are less in skilled hands than in novice hands. 


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.