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Being aware of our body is possible because there are sensors (nerves) that communicate this to the brain

The nerves are made of at least two different fibers: one type (sensorial) that transmit to the brain the temperature, touch and pain and the other type (motor) that are used by the brain to send commands to the respective innervated muscles. In fact, if you put your finger on a hot surface, nerves would communicate “it burns” to the brain (sensation) and the brain would communicate “move” to the finger (motor activity) to remove it.

Injecting specific drugs (local anesthetics) close to the nerves, numb particular innervated body areas (arm or leg or thorax or abdomen) and allow a procedure to be done without your being unconscious (general anesthesia). This means that, regional anesthesia aims to stop (or block) temporarily the connection between the brain and a specific part of the body. The advantages of Regional Anesthesia are numerous:

  • You can stay awake during the surgery. No need to perform tracheal intubation and use ventilators to control your respiration, with potential side effects. Regional anesthesia is limited to the specific part requiring surgeons’ attention. The rest of the body, including the brain is still working by itself. However, if you prefer, your anesthesiologist can give you some sedatives, for your comfort.
  • Regional anesthesia can be managed whenever required: especially in emergency cases.
  • Recovery goes faster after surgery. As there is no need for awakening, the side effects associated to general anesthesia are limited such as nausea, drowsiness and confusion. You will experience less post-operative pain. This type of anesthesia is preferred in ambulatory surgery.
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