Ian Augustin, MD
Ian Augustin, MD





Spinal Anesthesia — Demystified


Ian Augustin, MD
Eau Claire Anesthesiologists
Eau Claire

For many surgical procedures there are a variety of options available to the anesthesiologist which provides safe and comfortable care for patients. At OakLeaf Surgical Hospital, spinal anesthesia is a common and safe technique for lower extremity orthopedic surgery, urologic, and gynecologic procedures. Spinal anesthesia is defined by injecting a small amount of local anesthetic (i.e. numbing medication) into the spinal fluid at the level of the lumbar vertebrae. This results in profound numbness from that point and below allowing for operative anesthesia. Often spinal anesthesia is combined with sedative medications to provide comfort and reduce anxiety associated with the surgical procedure.

Spinal anesthesia, when compared to general anesthesia, is equally safe. There are factors however that could lead your anesthesiologist to prefer spinal anesthesia over a general anesthetic for the above mentioned procedures.

These factors include:

  • Spinal anesthesia provides a much better profile to prevent a side effect known as post-operative nausea and vomiting (PONV). Young, non-smoking patients of female gender are particularly susceptible to this unfortunate side effect of many anesthetic medications.
  • Spinal anesthesia allows the anesthesiologist to avoid many of these “bad actor” medications that can cause PONV. Patients with respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD may benefit from spinal anesthesia due to the anesthesiologist’s ability to avoid airway management and manipulation, which is a normal part of general anesthesia.
  • Elderly patients and those with dementia can benefit from avoiding medications associated with general anesthesia and provide a gentler postoperative course.



Dr. Augustin – Eau Claire Anesthesiologists
For information or to schedule an appointment:
715-834-8721 | eca-ltd.com
Dr. Augustin sees patients in Altoona and Eau Claire.