Background: The choice of anesthesia is one of the most important decisions made by anesthesiologists after preoperative visits with orthopedic patients. No published study has yet quantified the incidence of postanesthetic complaints for either technique. The present study was designed to compare the incidences of postanesthetic complaints after the application of the standardized techniques of spinal anesthesia, using a 27 - gauge needle, and two forms of general anesthesia in patients undergoing lower limb surgery.
Material and Method: In a prospective, randomized, observer blind trial, 260 orthopedic patients who underwent lower limb surgery were randomized into 3 groups; 1) spinal anesthesia (SA), 2) general anesthesia via facemask (GA-M), 3) general anesthesia via endotracheal intubation (GA-T). On postoperative days 1 and 3, patients were interviewed specifically about postanesthetic complaints.
Results: The present study indicated that the incidence of backache was significantly higher in SA (p = 0.01), while nausea/vomiting (p = 0.00) and headache (p = 0.02) were more frequent in GA-M and GA-T on the first postoperative day. In the 3-day period of observation in the ward, the incidence of postoperative complaints did not significantly differ among the three groups.
Conclusion: Spinal anesthesia using a 27-gauge Quincke needle is associated with a lower incidence of postanesthetic complaints compared with general anesthesia. This technique may be recommended for patients undergoing lower limb surgery.
Keyword : Orthopedic, Anesthesia, General, Spinal, Postanesthetic complaints