Complications of Regional Anesthesia

During regional anesthesia (spinals, caudals, and epidurals) one can experience undesirable reactions to the anesthetic if it is absorbed into the bloodstream too rapidly. Infection at the site of injection is rare but can lead to life-threatening conditions like meningitis. Permanent nerve damage is an extremely rare consequence of these techniques.

Epidural, spinal, and caudal anesthetics are associated with a risk of headaches. These may last several days after the procedure and require special treatment. One may also experience temporary difficulty emptying the bladder.

During regional anesthesia (spinals, intrathecal, and epidurals), the blood vessels may relax and cause hypotension (low blood pressure). This may diminish blood flow to the heart, brain or the baby.

Back pain is common after delivery with or without the use of spinal, epidural or intrathecal injections. Some patients may experience lower back discomfort with the use of these techniques.

Other minor side effects could include itching, nausea and vomiting.