Epidural or Spinal anesthesia: complications

Patient

Q: I had screws and plates placed in my head to repair a skull fracture seeral years ago. I am 37 wks now and was wondering because I am at high risk for spinal meningitis, if it is ok to have an epidural or spinal block?

Doctor

A:    After several years your skull fracture must be already healed and the osteosynthesis material should be incorporated, so at this time your risk to develop an infection is like everybody else that is given an epidural or spinal anesthesia. In fact, the bacterial meningitis is a very rare complication of epidural or spinal anesthesia, there are other complications as headaches or nerve damage, but even these two have a extremely low incidence like 1%.

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