Spinal Anesthesia

Anesthesiologists at Nationwide Children’s offer spinal anesthesia for select patients who are undergoing some types of surgeries. More than 200 of these procedures have been performed at the hospital's main campus and the Westerville Surgery Center.

The procedure is typically offered as an alternative to general anesthesia (going to sleep) for patients up to two years old. This allows the patient to stay awake during the surgery, while being numbed and immobilized from the mid-chest down. A member of the anesthesia team will even play with your child while he or she is having surgery.

Before surgery, a portion of the patient’s lower back is numbed with cream. A small needle is then inserted to inject anesthesia into the spinal fluid. The injection blocks pain immediately and stops movement. The spinal block provides anesthesia for 90 to 100 minutes, and provides pain relief for many hours thereafter.

Benefits of this approach are that a child's vital signs very stable and there is no need for anesthesiologists to use a breathing tube, general anesthetics or narcotics such as morphine. The spinal anesthesia also offers good post-surgery pain control and less recovery time.

Speak with your child’s surgeon to see if spinal anesthesia could be an option for your child.