Anesthesia is the desensitization of the body that is necessary before the patient undergoes surgery. Anesthesia involves the administration of drugs and can affect the whole body (general anesthesia) or part of it (loco-regional anesthesia). Loco-regional anesthesia only desensitizes the area where the operation is to be performed.

Dr. Orazio Difrancesco, an anesthesiologist in Humanitas, explains the side effects of loco-regional anesthesia.


Spinal anesthesia and plexus anesthesia

“First of all, it should be noted that loco-regional anesthesia has subtypes: spinal anesthesia and plexus anesthesia. In the case of spinal anesthesia, the local anesthetic is administered near the spinal cord, while in the case of plexus anesthesia, the nerve is asleep when it is detached from the central nervous system and has already become a peripheral nerve or a plexus of nerves.


Rare side effects

“Spinal loco-regional anesthesia rarely complicates with post-dural-puncture headache, a headache that occurs especially when the patient takes an upright position and it is due to the anesthesiological technique itself. This disorder affects young people in particular; it can start from a few days after surgery up to a maximum of one week and it is generally resolved within a few days. It never leaves definitive signs and anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Fans or paracetamol) are sufficient to treat it; taking the supine position relieves the symptoms.

Even more rarely, in the execution of so-called high spinal anesthesia, that is to say, one that covers the upper part of the abdomen (such as caesarean section), the patient may present vomiting, following the sleep of the nerves that innervate the intestine,” explains Dr. Difrancesco.