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Anesthesia

Surgery

09/10/2007

Question:

If I had surgery on my knee, can epidural anesthesia used for that, or is it only used for having a baby? I`ll wait for your answer. Thanks

Answer:

I think you already know the answer to this question. Epidural analgesia and anesthesia can be used for surgery on the lower extremities as well as for pelvic operations and for childbirth. It's a common choice for operations on the knee. Among the benefits are the avoidance of sore throat or dental injury from breathing tubes, the operation can be done with minimal or no sedation, rates of nausea are much less, and the patient is pain-free in the recovery period until the anesthesia wears off. Not everyone is a candidate for epidural anesthesia however. For outpatient surgery the home-ready recovery time tends to be a bit longer than for general anesthesia. Older men may experience difficulty with urination. A few patients (1% or less) develop headache. For a fuller discussion of risks and benefits please check with your anesthesiologist.

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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