Recovery characteristics of three anaesthetic techniques for outpatient orthopaedic surgery

G. I. Randel*, S. P. Kothary, S. K. Pandit, M. Brousseau, L. Levy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The goals of this study are to observe prospectively the perioperative recovery characteristics associated with general anaesthesia (GA), spinal anaesthesia (SAB), and epidural anaesthesia (EPID) in 200 patients scheduled for outpatient knee arthroscopy. Patients were observed from the time they entered the recovery room until they were discharged. Patients were contacted on postoperative days (POD) 1, 3, and 5. The EPID group had the quickest recovery times (125 ± 37 min, mean ± SD, ANOVA P < 0.01) compared with the GA group (165 ± 57 min) and SAB group (167 ± 51 min). Comparing the side effects of the three anaesthetic techniques, GA was associated with the highest incidence of nausea (27%) and vomiting (16%) on the day of surgery that persisted into the first postoperative day (nausea 41 % and vomiting 22%). There was no difference in the incidence of headache overall; however, SAB was associated with a 13% incidence of postdural puncture (PDP) headache that became apparent on POD 3. All the PDP headaches resolved with conservative therapy by the first postoperative week, except for two patients who required an epidural blood patch. The EPID group followed by the SAB and GA groups, had the highest incidence of backaches on POD 1 (respectively, 63%, 41% and 17%). By POD 3, the incidence of backache was not statistically different between groups. No specific treatment for backache was required. The ideal anaesthetic has not been developed, but our data suggests that an epidural technique is advantageous for knee arthroscopy in terms of a quick recovery and minimal adverse effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-30
Number of pages6
JournalAmbulatory Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1993


  • Anaesthetic technique
  • general anaesthesia
  • knee arthroscopy
  • outpatient anaesthesia recovery
  • postoperative complications
  • regional anaesthesia
  • spinal epidural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Medical–Surgical
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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