What is Regional Anesthesia?

Regional Anesthesia involves blocking sensations to one part of the body. By injecting local anesthetic (or numbing medicine) around a group of nerves, the anesthesia provider can block the sensation from one part of the body, such as the arm, the hand, or the foot. Most of the time the patient is given sedation before and during the procedure. A regional block can often give the patient several hours of pain relief after surgery. Regional anesthesia can be given alone, with sedation, or in combination with General Anesthesia. Your anesthesia provider may use this technique to provide anesthesia for your surgery or simply to provide pain relief after your surgery. Use of this technique will depend on the type and length of your surgery, your medical history, and your anesthesia provider and surgeon's preference.For many procedures, we can place a catheter as a part of your regional block to continually give local anesthetic (numbing medication) to block the feeling to the part of your body, such as your shoulder, your arm, your hand, your knee, or your foot that was operated on.  We can send you home with a disposable pump to give you pain relief for up to three days.

What can I expect?
Regional Anesthesia can be performed either in the holding room (the room where patients are prepared for surgery) or in the operating room. If the block is performed prior to surgery, the patient will be prepared for surgery and an IV will be started. If appropriate, the patient will receive sedation before the block. The following will list some of the most common blocks:

Axillary Block
— This block is used for procedures of the hand, forearm, and elbow.
Interscalene Block
—This block is used for procedures on the arm and shoulder.
Bier Block — This block is reserved for short procedures on the forearm, wrist, and hand.
Ankle Block — This block is done for procedures on the foot.
Popliteal Block — This block is done for procedures on the ankle or foot.
Femoral or Sciatic Block — This block is done for procedures on the knee.
Paravertebral BlockThis block is done for procedures on the breast.
Infraclavicular Block — This block is done for procedures on the elbow, forearm, and hand.