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Anesthesia

Arthroscopy knee spinal block

05/14/2007

Question:

I had surgery 5 weeks ago on left knee. After 1 week had bad numbness in right knee. After 3 weeks had pins needles plus numbness. After 5 weeks it`s very painful, numbness, very bad pins needles. Also very bad muscle spasm.

When I get out of bed there`s a very bad sharp pain like somebody is cutting me with a razor blade and it burns.

Answer:

From your question I understand that you had your arthroscopy under spinal block. You are concerned that your recent symptoms: pain, pins and needles, and muscle spasms, could be related to the spinal anesthesia.

The first thing to say is that you need to see your doctor as soon as possible so that he/she can take a full history, examine you and come to a proper diagnosis. This is obviously causing you a great deal of pain so you should seek medical attention. Remember that NetWellness is not a diagnostic service!

In general terms however, any nerve injury related to spinal blockade would be unlikely to present in the manner you describe. I am assuming that you had a period of a week or so in which you did not have any of the symptoms you describe. Any direct injury to nerves from needle insertion would be apparent soon after the anesthetic wore off. Later complications can occur - these include meningitis, hematoma (blood clot), and thrombosis of arteries supplying the nerves or spinal cord. Again, the symptoms you describe are not typical, and might be related to various other diagnoses, including arthritis in the knee, spinal disc herniation, and use of crutches, among others.

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Response by:

Gareth S Kantor, MD Gareth S Kantor, MD
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University