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

John T. Pierce, Guy Kositratna, Mark A. Attiah, Michael J. Kallan, Rebecca Koenigsberg, Peter Syre, David Wyler, Paul J. Marcotte, W. Andrew Kofke, William C. Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-98
Number of pages8
JournalLocal and Regional Anesthesia
StatePublished - Oct 10 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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