Spinal Anaesthetic

This page will provide you with information about a spinal anaesthetic. For further details, you should speak to your consultant.

What is a spinal anaesthetic?

A spinal anaesthetic, also called a ‘spinal,’ involves injecting local anaesthetics and painkillers into an area near the spinal cord known as the subarachnoid space. The injection delivers pain relief to different areas of the body by numbing the nerves. It is possible for a spinal to be given when you are awake, or alongside sedation or general anaesthetic. A spinal is sometimes offered to patients as a form of post-surgery pain relief.

How is a spinal administered?

The spinal is administered into the subarachnoid space through a needle. This process might feel a little uncomfortable; however it should not be painful.

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A spinal anaesthetic tends to last for 1-3 hours. The anaesthetists will make sure they inject enough anaesthetics to last longer than the expected duration of your procedure.

Risks and complications

Any risks or complications will be discussed in advance of your treatment with your expert consultant.


A spinal is suitable for most patients, usually offering a safe and successful method of pain relief both during and following a procedure.


References: EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.

The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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