The epidural anesthetic is commonly used for surgery of the lower limbs and during labor and childbirth. This type of anesthesia involves continually filling an anesthetic medication through a thin catheter (hollow tube). The catheter is placed into the space that surrounds the spinal cord in the lower back (just outside the subarachnoid space), causing numbness in the lower body.
Epidural anesthesia may also be used for chest or abdominal surgical procedures. In this case, the anesthetic medication is injected at a higher location in the back to numb the chest and abdominal areas.