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A spinal anaesthetic is an effective alternative to general anaesthetic for some types of surgery.
To discuss a private spinal anaesthetic with a consultant of your choice at Circle Health Group, call or book online today.
This page explains what a spinal anaesthetic is, how it works and what types of surgery it may be used for.
Please be aware that the following prices are a guide price. Your final price will be confirmed in writing following your consultation and any necessary diagnostic tests.
|Patient pathway||Initial consultation||Diagnostic Investigations||Main treatment||Post discharge care||Guide price|
|Hospital fees||N/A||Not included||£2,325||Included||£2,325|
|Consultants fees from||£200||N/A||Included||Included||£200|
Spinal anaesthetics are injected into your lower back causing the lower half of your body to become numb. They can be used for surgery below the waist including:
Before the procedure, you will have a drip placed in your hand and the theatre staff will attach you to a monitor to keep an eye on your heart rate, blood pressure, and blood oxygen levels.
Your anaesthetist will explain everything to you, answer any questions you have and guide you through the procedure. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible before, during, and after having your spinal anaesthetic, so please ask any questions you may have at any time.
To administer your spinal anaesthetic, your anaesthetist needs to see the bones in your back clearly. To do this, they will help you to get into one of two positions:
To minimise the risk of infection, the anaesthetist will clean your back with antiseptic, scrub their hands and wear a sterile gown, hat, gloves, and mask.
Next, they will feel along your spine with their fingers to find the correct place for the anaesthetic to be injected.
Once they have located the correct place, your anaesthetist will inject some local anaesthetic to numb the area. They are then ready to administer your spinal anaesthetic.
When the spinal needle is inserted, it's important that you stay very still. You should feel no pain during the procedure, but sometimes the needle can get too close to a nerve which causes a shooting pain down one of your legs. If you experience this, continue to stay still, and let your anaesthetist know which leg you feel pain in.
After the anaesthetic has been injected, you may feel a warm, tingling sensation in your lower back and buttocks. This gradually spreads down your legs until they are completely numb. A spinal anaesthetic normally takes between five and fifteen minutes to work.
Your anaesthetist will check the spinal anaesthetic is working in several ways. They may start by asking you to lift your legs off the bed. Your legs will probably feel heavy, and you may not be able to feel or lift them at all. If you cannot feel or move your legs, this is a good sign and means your spinal anaesthetic is working properly.
Your anaesthetist may use a cold spray to check that the spinal anaesthetic is working and the level at which it stops. When the anaesthetic is working properly, you will not be able to feel the cold spray.
It's very important that you are as relaxed and comfortable as possible throughout your procedure, so tell your anaesthetist if you have any questions or concerns at any time.
Your operation will not start until your anaesthetist is satisfied that your spinal anaesthetic is working properly.
If you choose this option, you will be awake for your operation, but you will not feel, or be able to move anything from your waist down. You will be able to hear what is going on in the operating theatre and talk during your operation. If you prefer, you are welcome to bring headphones and listen to music during your surgery. A screen will be put up in front of you so that you won't be able to see your operation. You will not feel any pain during your procedure
This combines a spinal anaesthetic with medication that makes you feel relaxed and drowsy. The sedation is only given once the anaesthetist is sure that your spinal anaesthetic is working properly. With this type of anaesthetic, you will be aware of your surroundings, but will feel quite sleepy. You will not experience any pain during the procedure
Sometimes a spinal anaesthetic is combined with a general anaesthetic that puts you to sleep for your operation. This may happen because your spinal anaesthetic can't be administered or isn't working effectively. Your anaesthetist may also decide to use a general anaesthetic if the operation goes on for longer than expected
Some advantages of having a spinal anaesthetic over a general anaesthetic include:
Like all anaesthetics, there are some risks and possible side effects you need to be aware of before having a spinal anaesthetic.
Your anaesthetist will discuss these with you before your surgery and answer any questions you may have so that you can make an informed decision.
Your consultant will prescribe painkillers for you to take as your spinal anaesthetic wears off. If you feel pain after your surgery, ask for painkillers as soon as possible. It's important that you are as comfortable and pain-free as possible after your operation. Don't wait for your pain to become severe. This can make it harder to treat and may stop you from moving around, which can lead to complications.
No. Both spinal anaesthetics and epidurals are types of regional anaesthesia that numb the body below the waist, but there are some differences between them.
During an epidural, a thin plastic tube is inserted into the epidural space (the potential space between the spinal cord and the backbone). This is attached to an infusion pump so that the anaesthetic can be topped up as needed. Epidurals are commonly used during childbirth.
Spinal anaesthetics are given as a single injection into the cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord).
Rarely, spinal anaesthetics can cause a condition called postoperative sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). This can affect one or both ears and affects your ability to hear low-frequency sounds. Most cases of SNHL resolve by themselves within a few days, but in rare cases, the condition is permanent and may be accompanied by tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and vertigo ( a feeling that you or your environment are moving or spinning). If you experience hearing loss after having a spinal anaesthetic, seek immediate medical attention.
Yes. A spinal anaesthetic is often used for orthopaedic (bone) surgery involving the lower part of the body such as the hips, legs, feet, and ankles.
If you don't want to be awake during your operation, you can opt for a different type of anaesthetic such as a spinal anaesthetic with sedation, or a general anaesthetic. It's very important to us that you are comfortable and well-informed about every aspect of your surgery. Before your operation, discuss your preferences and the different anaesthetic options with your anaesthetist, who will help you decide on the best option for you.
After your surgery, you may need to wait around 48 hours before taking a shower. This is more to do with the surgery itself than the spinal anaesthetic as you may have dressings in place that need to stay dry. Talk to your consultant about when you can expect to take a shower after your surgery.
If you would like to see a consultant or learn more about spinal anaesthetics, book your appointment today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.