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Spinal or Local Anesthesia in Lichtenstein Hernia Repair: A Randomized Controlled Trial

van Veen, Ruben N. MD*; Mahabier, Chander MD, PhD†; Dawson, Imro MD, PhD‡; Hop, Wim C. PhD§; Kok, Niels F. M. MD*; Lange, Johan F. MD, PhD*; Jeekel, Johannus MD, PhD*

doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e318165b0ff
Randomized Controlled Trials

Background: With established protocols lacking, the choice of anesthetic technique remains arbitrary in inguinal hernia repair. Well-designed studies in this subject are important because of the gap or discrepancy between available scientific evidence and clinical practice.

Methods: Between August 2004 and June 2006, a multicenter prospective clinical trial was performed in which 100 patients with unilateral primary inguinal hernia were randomized to spinal or local anesthesia. Clinical examination took place within 2 weeks postoperatively and at 3 months in the outpatient clinic.

Results: Analysis of postoperative visual analogue scale scores showed that patients operated under local anesthesia had significant less pain shortly after surgery (P = 0.021). Significantly more urinary retention (P < 0.001) and more overnight admissions (P = 0.004) occurred after spinal anesthesia. Total operating time is significantly shorter in the local anesthesia group (P < 0.001). No significant differences were found between the 2 groups with respect to the activities of daily life and quality of life.

Conclusions: Our study provides evidence that local anesthesia is superior to spinal anesthesia in inguinal hernia repair. Local anesthesia in primary, inguinal hernia repairs should be the method of choice.

This study describes a multicenter randomized clinical trial comparing spinal anesthesia with local anesthesia. Local anesthesia is superior to spinal anesthesia in inguinal hernia repair. Local anesthesia in primary, inguinal hernia repairs should be considered as the method of choice.

From the *Department of Surgery, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam; †Department of Surgery, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Zwijndrecht; ‡Department of Surgery, IJsselland Hospital, Capelle a/d IJssel; and §Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Reprints: Ruben N. van Veen, MD, Ikazia Hospital Rotterdam, Department of Surgery, PO Box 5009, Montessoriweg 1,3008 AN, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. E-mail: r.n.vanveen@erasmusmc.nl.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.