Total Hip Replacement Anesthesia

During your hip replacement surgery, anesthesia keeps you from feeling any pain or discomfort during the surgery. The most common types of anesthesia for total hip replacement are general and spinal. Your doctor and anesthesia team will discuss both types of anesthesia with you and determine which one is best based on your particular situation.

Types of Anesthesia for Total Hip Replacement

Anesthesia is used to eliminate the pain felt during a hip replacement surgery. The two most commonly used forms are spinal and general anesthesia.
Spinal Anesthesia
With spinal anesthesia, your anesthesiologist will inject medicine into your lower back. To make the placement of the needle easier, you will be asked either to lie on your side, curled up, or to sit on the side of the table, hunched forward. You will also receive medicine that makes you feel relaxed or sleepy. Although the spinal anesthesia should take away all sensation of pain, you might still feel some pressure and movement during the hip replacement surgery.  
General Anesthesia
The other option is general anesthesia. This type of anesthesia uses medication to put you into a deep sleep so that you are not aware of any pain, pressure, or movement during the hip replacement surgery.
In order to do this, you will first be asked to breathe through an oxygen mask. Then you will be given medications through your IV, which will cause you to feel pleasantly relaxed, and you will slowly drift off to sleep. After you are sound asleep, a breathing tube will be placed into your windpipe to assist with your breathing throughout the operation. Your anesthesiologist and anesthesia care team will give you other medications as required during your hip replacement surgery through your IV.
Your surgeon or anesthesiologist may decide to use an epidural catheter and general anesthesia. This catheter, which is a very small plastic tube, is placed into your lower back, just outside of your spinal cord. This catheter allows pain medication to be placed directly into this area around the nerves to provide pain relief. In many cases, it has been shown to decrease the amount of general anesthesia required during the surgery. This catheter can be removed after the hip replacement surgery or left in place for about a day to provide continuous pain relief.
You will talk to the anesthesiologist prior to the surgery, and any questions or concerns you have regarding the choice or effects of anesthesia can be discussed at that time.
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Total Hip Replacement

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