Regional Anesthesia

Born of a tradition boasting world-class expertise in orthopedics and rheumatology, Brigham and Women's Hospital is a world leader in the field of regional anesthesia.

The regional anesthesia program was developed in response to the challenges of caring for a huge number of orthopedic patients with extremely complex medical conditions. The Regional Anesthesia Service has flourished under the leadership of pioneers in the field who developed regional anesthetic techniques and agents.

The strong tradition of excellence in regional anesthesia has led to widespread use of these techniques by all services. It has also encouraged development of innovative applications of regional anesthesia, such as thoracic epidural anesthesia for breast surgery and spinal anesthesia for back surgery.

Variety of Options

Our Department offers a variety of regional anesthesia options for appropriate cases. The most common regional techniques are spinal and epidural anesthetic (neuraxial blocks):

  • Spinal anesthesia is often the choice for urologic and gynecologic procedures
  • Epidural anesthesia is routinely used in obstetrics to alleviate labor pain. They may also be placed for post-operative pain relief, reducing the risk of pneumonia and respiratory complications.

We also offer peripheral nerve blocks for many inpatient and outpatient procedures. An injection along a nerve in order to numb a surgical site can avoid the need for general anesthesia. In addition, because most blocks last up to 24 hours after placement, they can provide pain relief after surgery as well.