Regional anesthesia refers to numbing only a large part of the body. Medications called "local anesthetics" are injected to make nerves numb. Patients may be awake, enabling the surgeon to converse with them if necessary. Patients may also choose to be sedated and sleep through their medical procedure. If awake, a patient may feel movement and pressure, but no pain.
Three common types of regional anesthesia are spinals, epidurals and "peripheral nerve blocks." Spinals and epidurals are injections of local anesthetics that make the spinal cord "sleep" in specific locations corresponding to the place of surgery. Peripheral nerve blocks numb specific nerves coming from the surgery site.