Epidural anaesthetic

Epidural anaesthetic

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Credit: TRACY RUTTER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Epidural anaesthetic. Surgeon's hands injecting an epidural anaesthetic into the lower back of a woman, prior to a Caesarean section. The anaesthetic is injected into the epidural space. This lies between the dura mater, the outermost of the three membranes that cover the spine, and the vertebral canal. The anaesthetic numbs the nerves that supply the chest and the lower half of the body, allowing the woman to remain conscious during the delivery of her child. During a Caesarean section, the baby is delivered through an incision made in the woman's abdomen and uterus. It is performed when it is difficult or dangerous for the baby to be delivered vaginally.

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