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These are two techniques used to eliminate pain during a surgical or obstetrical procedure. They numb the part of the body that is being operated on:
• A spinal block consists of injecting a medication (local anesthetic) into the cerebrospinal fluid (spine) where the nerve roots are located. This involves the use of a needle that is then removed. In rare cases, a catheter (very small soft tube) is placed through the needle to allow additional doses of medication to be injected.
• Epidural anesthesia involves injecting a medication (local anesthetic) into the epidural space (spine) through a catheter that is left in place during the procedure.
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