The Particulars: Studies have shown that anesthesia type can play a role in perioperative outcomes for relatively minor surgeries like knee arthroplasty. However, little is known about these effects for major abdominal surgeries, such as colectomy.

Data Breakdown: Investigators from New York compared data on patients who underwent colectomies with general anesthesia or general/neuraxial anesthesia. Patients who underwent general/neuraxial anesthesia had a significantly lower risk for thromboembolism and cerebrovascular events. Risks for wound infections and pneumonia and the need for mechanical ventilation were similar between the two groups. However, general/neuraxial anesthesia was associated with significantly increased risks for acute myocardial infarction, urinary tract infections, and postoperative ileus. General/neuraxial anesthesia was also associated with a greater need for blood transfusions and a greater likelihood of ICU admission.

Take Home Pearl: Among patients undergoing colectomy, there does not appear to be a clear pattern of consistently favorable results along the continuum of perioperative outcomes for those who receive general/neuraxial anesthesia when compared with general anesthesia.