Health Library

The Health Library is a collection of health and wellness resources created for learning and accessibility. Select a topic below for related health information or search for a topic in the search bar for more information on other medical conditions.

Anesthesiology

  • Learn about general anesthesia: what it is, how it's done, and its safety and side effects.

  • It can be hard to know which treatments you may or may not want near the end of life. Learning more can help.

  • Guides you through the decision to use epidural corticosteroid shots to relieve back pain. Explains risks and benefits of epidural steroid shots. Compares steroid shots with other treatment for back pain.

  • Learn about a peripheral nerve block: what it is, how it's done, and how safe it is.

  • Learn about spinal anesthesia: what it is, how it's done, and its safety and side effects.

  • Learn about epidural anesthesia: what it is, how it's done, and its safety and side effects.

  • Learn about an epidural for labor: what it is, how it's done, and its safety and side effects.

  • Guides you through the decision to have surgery for a herniated disc in the low back. Describes the types of surgery available, as well as nonsurgical treatment. Lists the benefits and risks of both types of treatment. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • You and your birth partner can take part more fully in a vaginal birth than you can in a cesarean delivery. During a cesarean, the mother gets either a regional anesthetic or a general anesthetic. She can't fully take part in her baby's birth. Some...

  • Local anesthesia uses medicine to block sensations of pain from a specific area of the body. Local anesthetics are usually given by injection into the body area that needs to be anesthetized. They are not injected into the bloodstream (intravenous,...

  • A doctor may use procedural sedation for a minor procedure that needs only small amounts of anesthesia and doesn't require an anesthesia specialist to be there. This type of sedation uses local anesthesia with sedatives to relax you. You may or may...

  • Regional anesthesia is the use of local anesthetics to block sensations of pain from a large area of the body, such as an arm or leg or the abdomen. Regional anesthesia allows a procedure to be done on a region of the body without your being...

  • Peripheral nerve blocks are a type of regional anesthesia. The anesthetic is injected near a specific nerve or bundle of nerves to block sensations of pain from a specific area of the body. Nerve blocks usually last longer than local anesthesia....

  • Epidural and spinal blocks are types of anesthesia in which a local anesthetic is injected near the spinal cord and nerve roots. It blocks pain from an entire region of the body, such as the belly, the hips, the legs, or the pelvis. Epidural and spinal anesthesia are used mainly for surgery of the lower belly and the...

  • General anesthesia is a combination of medicines that you inhale or receive through a needle in a vein to cause you to become unconscious. It affects your whole body. Under anesthesia, you should be completely unaware and not feel pain during the...

  • Muscle relaxants are medicines that block the nerve impulses to the muscles. They sometimes are also referred to as neuromuscular blocking agents. These medicines are often used during general anesthesia, but they do not usually affect whether you...

  • People receiving anesthesia must be carefully watched, because the medicines used for anesthesia affect the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and respiratory system (airway and lungs). Anesthesia suppresses many of the body's normal...

  • As part of preparing for a medical procedure requiring anesthesia, you will have an exam to check on your health and to identify any health risks that may affect your anesthesia care. Tell your anesthesia specialist about your health history,...

  • Local anesthesia for childbirth is most commonly given as a shot that numbs the area around the vagina just before an episiotomy is done. An episiotomy is a cut made in the tissue between the vagina and anus just before the baby's head starts to emerge. (The tissue is called the perineum.) The cut makes the vaginal...

  • Pudendal block To relieve pain associated with the second (pushing) stage of labor, an injection called a pudendal block can be given through the vaginal wall and into the pudendal nerve in the pelvis, numbing the area between the vagina and anus (perineum). Pudendal blocks do not relieve the pain of contractions. A...

  • Epidural anesthesia is an effective form of childbirth pain relief. Epidural anesthesia is the injection of a numbing medicine into the space around the spinal nerves in the lower back. It numbs the area above and below the point of injection and allows you to remain awake during the delivery. It can be used for either...

  • Spinal anesthesia (spinal block) is similar to epidural anesthesia, except the anesthetic is injected in a single dose into the fluid around the spinal cord. A spinal block may also be called a saddle block. It numbs the area that would come into contact with the saddle of a horse. Like an epidural catheter, a spinal...

  • Guides you through decision to have an epidural during childbirth. Lists benefits and risks. Lists other ways to control labor pain. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • What is anesthesia? Anesthesia is a way to control pain during a surgery or procedure by using medicine called anesthetics. It can help control your breathing, blood pressure, blood flow, and heart rate and rhythm. Anesthesia may be used to: Relax you. Block pain. Make you sleepy or forgetful...

  • Guides through decision to receive CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and mechanical ventilation. Describes the procedures and discusses risks and benefits of each. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Provides brief discussion on nerve block for pain relief. Explains that it is done by injecting a drug into or around a nerve or into the spine. Covers when and why nerve blocks are used. Also covers risks.

  • Pain medicine works better when the pain first starts, before it gets too bad. A patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pump lets you give yourself intravenous (IV) pain medicine when you need it. This gives you more control of your pain relief. The PCA pump contains your pain medicine. Usually that medicine is morphine...

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