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Spinal anaesthesia is a form of regional anesthesia administered by injecting a local anesthetic, usually bupivacaine, into the sub-arachnoid space with a large needle. It can be used for many procedures in or below the abdomen (injecting the anaesthetic higher can affect breathing, the heart and consciousness).
The procedure is not commonly performed on surgery patients in the developing world, with an epidural being the preferred procedure. However, it is commonly used in South Asia and Africa due to its ease of administration, lower cost, lower risk of infection, low risk of complications, and ongoing effect of helping with pain during surgical recovery. In the developed world, it is often preferred where intubation during general anesthesia is contra-indicated (such as with severe allergies or asthma).