Whether or not a spine surgery is considered successful depends on a number of factors. In addition to addressing the symptoms and underlying issues with a patient’s spine, surgeons must also take into consideration time spent in the operating room, recovery outlook, and overall costs. Since anesthesia services play such an important role in a surgeon being able to perform a spine surgery, it is in the best interest of all involved to maximize the benefits associated with anesthesia for each procedure.
When it comes to types of anesthesia used for this type of surgery, medical professionals have the option of spinal anesthesia or general anesthesia. While both patient and doctor preference can determine which will be used, spinal anesthesia can provide significant savings for spine surgeries.
Spinal Anesthesia vs. General Anesthesia
Spinal anesthesia and general anesthesia differ in how they affect patients and the processes used to prepare patients for surgery. General anesthesia is used to deliver a full loss of consciousness to a patient, either by inhaling the anesthesia or by intravenous means. On the other hand, spinal anesthesia is used to more specifically target the spine and lessen the impact of the anesthetic on the patient. This is done by the anesthesiologist injecting a local anesthetic into the fluid around the spinal cord to numb a patient’s nerves in that area.
With spinal anesthesia, a patient is not unconscious. Instead, they are able to remain awake during the procedure without feeling pain or sensation around the surgery site. This provides patients with a number of benefits, especially for those who are older or who may be susceptible to various risks from being put under general anesthesia.
Physical and Economic Benefits of Spinal Anesthesia
First and foremost, the use of spinal anesthesia presents patients with many physical benefits, from the beginning of surgery through recovery. In addition, Becker’s Spine Review cited a recent study conducted by Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City that found hospitals can save around 10 percent on costs by using spinal anesthesia instead of general anesthesia.
In terms of overall benefits, the researchers found that spinal anesthesia use led to a reduction in the time spent in operating rooms and post-anesthesia care units, allowing surgeons and facilities to assist more patients. Patients that were monitored during the study and received spinal anesthesia for their procedure reported less postoperative pain, which led to a reduced need for opioid pain medication. Since patients were not put completely under anesthesia during their procedure, the spinal anesthesia services used resulted in lower anesthesia times and patients returning to normalcy faster.
The researchers focused on post-anesthesia care unit time, pain scores, the incidence of nausea, 30-day readmission, and other factors when comparing the effectiveness of spinal anesthesia against general anesthesia. In the end, the team found that spinal anesthesia is safe and effective for use in spinal surgeries and will lead to cost savings of approximately 10 percent for medical facilities.
Learn more about the use of spinal anesthesia and other anesthesia services by contacting Strategy Anesthesia today at (323) 999-4963.