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Regional Anesthesia Does Not Significantly Change Surgical Time Versus General Anesthesia—A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Studies
  1. Franklin Dexter, M.D., PhD.
  1. From the Department of Anesthesia, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.
  1. Reprint requests: Franklin Dexter, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Anesthesia, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242.


Background and Objectives The major determinant of variable operating room costs is surgical time. A number of factors contribute to surgical time. This study was designed to determine whether regional anesthesia decreases surgical time when compared with general anesthesia over several surgical procedures.

Methods A search was conducted for clinical trials that reported surgical times and which compared outcomes from regional versus general anesthesia. A meta-analysis of these trials was completed to determine whether, on average, among many surgeons and surgical procedures, the use of regional anesthesia affects surgical time. Confidence intervals were calculated and random effects meta-analysis was used to pool results.

Results Twenty-six studies (with 1,874 patients) were used in the meta-analysis. Regional anesthesia does not significantly decrease surgical time versus general anesthesia (mean general minus regional difference was 1.7 minutes, 95% confidence interval −0.5 to 3.9 minutes).

Conclusions Overall, the use of regional anesthesia does not significantly decrease surgical time.

  • meta-analysis
  • regional anesthesia
  • surgical time

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  • The Acting Editor-in-Chief for this article was John C. Rowlingson, M.D., of the Department of Anesthesiology, University of Virginia, Health Sciences Center, Box 10010, Charlottesville, VA 22906-0010.