Spinal anesthesia in elderly patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery

Noah L. Lessing, Charles C. Edwards, Charles H. Brown, Emily C. Ledford, Clayton L. Dean, Charles Lin, Charles C. Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Spinal anesthesia is increasingly viewed as a reasonable alternative to general anesthesia for lumbar spine surgery. However, the results of spinal anesthesia in elderly patients undergoing lumbar spine decompression and combined decompression and fusion procedures are limited in the literature. The aim of this study was to report a single institution's experience using spinal anesthesia in elderly patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery. A retrospective review was conducted using a prospectively collected database of consecutive lumbar spine surgeries performed under spinal anesthesia in patients 70 years or older at a single center between December 2013 and October 2015. A total of 56 patients were included in the study; 27 patients (48%) underwent lumbar decompression and 29 patients (52%) underwent combined decompression and fusion procedures. Mean operative time was 101 minutes (range, 30-210 minutes), and mean operative blood loss was 187 mL (range, 20-700 mL). Mean maximum inpatient postoperative visual analog scale score was 6.2 (range, 1-10). Nausea occurred in 21% (12 of 56) of the patients. Mean length of stay was 2.4 days (range, 1-6 days). No mortality, stroke, permanent loss of function, or pulmonary embolism occurred. None of the cases required conversion to general anesthesia. All of the patients were ambulatory on either the day of the surgery or the next morning. These results demonstrate that spinal anesthesia is a viable method of anesthesia for patients 70 years and older undergoing lumbar spine surgery. They also demonstrate the safety of this method for patients older than 84 years and for surgeries lasting up to 3 hours.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e317-e322
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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