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Efficiency of spinal anesthesia versus general anesthesia for lumbar spinal surgery: a retrospective analysis of 544 patients

Authors Pierce JT, Kositratna G, Attiah MA, Kallan MJ, Koenigsberg R, Syre P, Wyler D, Marcotte PJ, Kofke WA, Welch WC

Received 6 May 2017

Accepted for publication 18 July 2017

Published 10 October 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 91—98

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/LRA.S141233

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Stefan Wirz


John T Pierce,1 Guy Kositratna,2 Mark A Attiah,1 Michael J Kallan,3 Rebecca Koenigsberg,1 Peter Syre,1 David Wyler,4 Paul J Marcotte,1 W Andrew Kofke,1,2 William C Welch1

1Department of Neurosurgery, 2Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, 3Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 4Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Neurosurgery, Jefferson Hospital of Neuroscience, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia PA, USA

Background: Previous studies have shown varying results in selected outcomes when directly comparing spinal anesthesia to general in lumbar surgery. Some studies have shown reduced surgical time, postoperative pain, time in the postanesthesia care unit (PACU), incidence of urinary retention, postoperative nausea, and more favorable cost-effectiveness with spinal anesthesia. Despite these results, the current literature has also shown contradictory results in between-group comparisons.
Materials and methods: A retrospective analysis was performed by querying the electronic medical record database for surgeries performed by a single surgeon between 2007 and 2011 using procedural codes 63030 for diskectomy and 63047 for laminectomy: 544 lumbar laminectomy and diskectomy surgeries were identified, with 183 undergoing general anesthesia and 361 undergoing spinal anesthesia (SA). Linear and multivariate regression analyses were performed to identify differences in blood loss, operative time, time from entering the operating room (OR) until incision, time from bandage placement to exiting the OR, total anesthesia time, PACU time, and total hospital stay. Secondary outcomes of interest included incidence of postoperative spinal hematoma and death, incidence of paraparesis, plegia, post-dural puncture headache, and paresthesia, among the SA patients.
Results: SA was associated with significantly lower operative time, blood loss, total anesthesia time, time from entering the OR until incision, time from bandage placement until exiting the OR, and total duration of hospital stay, but a longer stay in the PACU. The SA group experienced one spinal hematoma, which was evacuated without any long-term neurological deficits, and neither group experienced a death. The SA group had no episodes of paraparesis or plegia, post-dural puncture headaches, or episodes of persistent postoperative paresthesia or weakness.
Conclusion: SA is effective for use in patients undergoing elective lumbar laminectomy and/or diskectomy spinal surgery, and was shown to be the more expedient anesthetic choice in the perioperative setting.

Keywords: spinal anesthesia, general anesthesia, efficiency, expedient

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