Spinal Versus General Anesthesia for Patients Undergoing Outpatient Total Knee Arthroplasty

A National Propensity Matched Analysis of Early Postoperative Outcomes

Mark C. Kendall; Alexander D. Cohen; Stephanie Principe-Marrero; Peter Sidhom; Patricia Apruzzese; Gildasio De Oliveira


BMC Anesthesiol. 2021;21(226) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: A comparison of different anesthetic techniques to evaluate short term outcomes has yet to be performed for patients undergoing outpatient knee replacements. The aim of this investigation was to compare short term outcomes of spinal (SA) versus general anesthesia (GA) in patients undergoing outpatient total knee replacements.

Methods: The ACS NSQIP datasets were queried to extract patients who underwent primary, elective, unilateral total knee arthroplasty (TKA) between 2005 and 2018 performed as an outpatient procedure. The primary outcome was a composite score of serious adverse events (SAE). The primary independent variable was the type of anesthesia (e.g., general vs. spinal).

Results: A total of 353,970 patients who underwent TKA procedures were identified comprising of 6,339 primary, elective outpatient TKA procedures. Of these, 2,034 patients received GA and 3,540 received SA. A cohort of 1,962 patients who underwent outpatient TKA under GA were propensity matched for covariates with patients who underwent outpatient TKA under SA. SAE rates at 72 h after surgery were not greater in patients receiving GA compared to SA (0.92%, 0.66%, P = 0.369). In contrast, minor adverse events were greater in the GA group compared to SA (2.09%, 0.51%), P < 0.001. The rate of postoperative transfusion was greater in the patients receiving GA.

Conclusions: The type of anesthetic technique, general or spinal anesthesia does not alter short term SAEs, readmissions and failure to rescue in patients undergoing outpatient TKR surgery. Recognizing the benefits of SA tailored to the anesthetic management may maximize the clinical benefits in this patient population.