Spinal phobia: Survey results of patient attitudes and preferences regarding anesthesia

Mitchel B. Sosis*, Samuel M. Parnass, Robert J. McCarthy, Berton Braverman, Gloria Watson, Theresa Halter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Study Objective: To determine unbiased patient preferences for either spinal or general anesthesia for upcoming surgeries. Design: Prior to contact with anesthesia personnel, a simple questionnaire was completed by surgical patients to determine their demographic characteristics and previous anesthetic experiences. Their concerns regarding a list of complications of general and spinal anesthesia and their preferences for general or spinal anesthesia if either method could be used were also determined. Setting: University-affiliated suburban community hospital. Measurements and main results: The survey was completed by 254 patients. A preference for general over spinal anesthesia was expressed by 80.2% of the patients responding. They expressed significantly more concerns regarding nausea/vomiting, sore throat, feeling sleepy, and death with general anesthesia than with spinal anesthesia. Concerns of back pain, nerve damage and paralysis were statistically related to spinal anesthesia. Conclusions: This survey shows a strong patient preference for general anesthesia and a phobia for spinal anesthesia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-393
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Anesthesia
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995


  • Anesthetic techniques: patient attitudes
  • inpatients
  • outpatients
  • preoperative questionnaire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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