Although not exclusive to obstetric anaesthesia, a sound knowledge of the anatomy pertinent to epidural and spinal anaesthesia is fundamental to obstetric anaesthetists because of the importance of these techniques in this field. In addition, knowledge of the relevant peripheral nerves is important in order to differentiate central from peripheral causes of neurological impairment.
The structures involved in obstetric neuraxial anaesthesia comprise the vertebrae and sacral canal, vertebral ligaments, epidural space, meninges and spinal cord. The important peripheral aspects are the lumbar and sacral plexi and the muscular and cutaneous supply of the lower part of the body.
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