What are Spinal and Epidural Anesthesia?

Spinal and Epidural Anesthesia are two of the most commonly used regional anestheics. They are used for procedures performed on the lower abdomen, pelvis, and lower extremity. These anesthetics in some cases might be advantageous over general anesthetics depending on the patient's anethetic histroy or personal preferences. In certain instances discharge from the hospital may also be expedited.

Spinal anesthesia is the introduction of a local anesthetic into the spinal fluid surrounding the spinal nerves in the lower back region. This results in numbness from the waist down for a period of time appropriate for the surgery. The duration of the anesthesia is determined by the specific local anesthetic used.

Epidural anesthesia is the introduction of a local anesthetic into the area adjacent to the nerves outside the spinal fluid sac. A catheter is inserted into this space, and the duration of the anesthesia can be lengthened by repeated administration of local anesthetic through the catheter. The depth of anesthesia may also vary with Epidural anesthesia, resulting in the blocking of painful sensation while still allowing muscle movement.

What is Patient Controlled Anagesia (PCA)

Special pain relief measures are available for patienst staying in the hospital after the surgery. They are epidural and intravenous PCS and are administered by an anesthesiologist trained in the field of pain management.

At the request of your surgeon, you will receive a pump that is under your control which will provide medication either through your intravenous line or an epidural catheter. The type is often determined by the type of anesthesia used during the surgery. PCA can be an extremely effective way to control your post-operative pain without the need for injections of pain medication. Medication is continously flowing at a present rate, and you also have the ability to give yourself "booster" doses if you feel the need. This method is safe and effective because the pump is programmed according to your needs and can be adjusted at any time. In fact, it is commonly found that there is less pain medication used because it is under the patient's control.

PCA is highly effective method of acute pain management for a variety of surgical procedures. Its use can result in earlier ambulation after surgery, thereby reducing surgical complications, and provide for earlier discharge from the hospital.

Is there anyone to help with my insurance coverage questions?

Suffolk Anesthesiology Associates employs an experienced and knowledgeable staff dedicated to educating patients about their medical benefits and the billing process. We participate in many popular medical plans. Please feel free to contact our staff with respect to the bill you may receive from us. Our office hours are Monday through Friday 8 AM to 5 PM

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