Epidural anesthesia for lumbar spine surgery

Phillip E. Greenbarg, Mark D. Brown, Vincente S. Pallares, Janet S. Tompkins, N. Horace Mann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


A retrospective review of the hospital records of 80 patients undergoing elective lumbar spine surgery was performed, in order to determine the effect of anesthetic technique on various clinical parameters. Forty patients receiving epidural bupivacaine anesthesia were matched with 40 patients receiving general endotracheal anesthesia; these two groups were homogeneous based on age, sex, type of operative procedure, and number of spinal levels operated upon. Significant results included lower injectable narcotic requirements (p < 0.001), lower incidence of postoperative urinary retention (p < 0.01), and lower operative blood loss (p < 0.1) for patients receiving epidural anesthesia. Epidural bupivacaine provided satisfactory anesthesia, and allowed intraoperative testing of lower extremity motor function. In a follow-up survey, 38 of 40 patients who received epidural anesthesia were satisfied with the technique. For patients undergoing decompressive lumbar spine surgery, epidural bupivacaine anesthesia is an effective, well tolerated technique with several potential advantages, and an acceptable incidence of complications, as compared with general endotracheal anesthesia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-143
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Spinal Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988


  • Clinical follow-up
  • Epidural anesthesia
  • Postoperative complications
  • Spinal surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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