Regional anesthesia involves injection of anesthetic medications near a cluster of nerves such that only the area of your body requiring surgery is numb. For example, spinals and epidurals are methods of regional anesthesia which effectively block sensation in the lower half of your body. Peripheral nerve blocks are often used to numb individual limbs, such as one arm or leg. This type of anesthesia is used for many different types of procedures, including orthopedic, urological, abdominal, gynecologic, and obstetric.
When receiving regional anesthesia, you may remain awake or you may be given intravenous (IV) sedation so that you will be relaxed and sleepy during the surgery. Regional anesthesia tends to result in less nausea and vomiting than general anesthesia. Even if you have general anesthesia for your procedure, a regional technique such as an epidural or a nerve block can be very effective after surgery to prevent or treat pain.