July 9, 2022
Whilst general anaesthesia is commonly used to undertake spine surgery, the use of neuraxial and pe- ripheral regional anaesthesia techniques for intraoperative and postoperative analgesia is an evolving practice. Varia- tions in practice have meant that it is difficult to know which modalities achieve optimal outcomes for patients undergoing spinal surgery. Our objective was to identify available evidence on the use of regional and neuraxial anaesthesia techniques for adult patients undergoing spinal surgery.
This study was conducted using a framework for scoping reviews. This included a search of six databases searching for articles published since January 1980. We included studies that involved adult patients undergoing spinal surgery with regional or neuraxial techniques used as the primary anaesthesia method or as part of an analgesic strategy.
Seventy-eight articles were selected for final review. All original papers were included, including case reports, case series, clinical trials, or conference publications. We found that general anaesthesia remains the most common anaesthesia technique for this patient cohort. However, regional anaesthesia, especially non-neuraxial techniques such as fascial plane blocks, is an emerging practice and may have a role in terms of improving postoperative pain relief, quality of recovery, and patient satisfaction. In comparison with neuraxial techniques, the popularity of fascial plane blocks for spinal surgery has significantly increased since 2017.
Conclusions: Regional and neuraxial anaesthesia techniques have been used both to provide analgesia and anaesthesia for patients undergoing spinal surgery. Outcome metrics for the success of these techniques vary widely and more frequently use physiological outcome metrics more than patient-centred ones.
Keywords: erector spinae plane block; neuraxial anaesthesia; postoperative analgesia; regional anaesthesia; spine surgery