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Postherniorrhaphy Urinary Retention—Effect of Local, Regional, and General Anesthesia: A Review
  1. Peter Jensen, M.S.,
  2. Trine Mikkelsen, M.S. and
  3. Henrik Kehlet, M.D., Ph.D.
  1. From the Department of Surgical Gastroenterology 435, University of Copenhagen, Hvidovre Hospital, Hvidovre, Denmark.
  1. Reprint requests: Henrik Kehlet, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Surgical Gastroenterology 435, University of Copenhagen, DK-2650 Hvidovre, Denmark. E-mail:


Background and Objectives Postherniorrhaphy urinary retention (UR) may depend on the anesthetic technique. We therefore reviewed available published studies of UR in relation to anesthetic technique.

Methods A Medline-based search (1966-November 2001) revealed 70 nonrandomized and 2 randomized studies.

Results The incidence of UR was lower with local anesthesia (LA) (33 in 8,991 patients, 0.37%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.24%-0.49%) compared with regional anesthesia (RA) (150 in 6,191 patients, 2.42%, 95% CI 2.04%-2.81%) and general anesthesia (GA) (344 in 11,471 patients, 3.00%, 95% CI 2.69%-3.31%).

Conclusion The low incidence of UR with LA is in accordance with the inhibitory effects of RA and GA on bladder function. Data from newer short-acting techniques of GA and RA are required to define the optimal anesthetic for inguinal herniorrhaphy.

  • General anesthesia
  • Inguinal herniorrhaphy
  • Local anesthesia
  • Regional anesthesia
  • Urinary retention

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  • Supported by the Danish Research Council (grant no. 9902757).