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Regional Versus General Anesthesia: Attitudes and Experiences of Patients
  1. Egon Lanz, MD,
  2. Dieter Theiss, MD,
  3. Engelbert A. Emmerich, MD and
  4. Margarete Emmerich, MD
  1. From the Department of Anesthesiology, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, West Germany.


In order to determine patients' attitudes toward and experiences with regional anesthesia (RA) and general anesthesia (GA), we surveyed 266 citizens of Mainz and 353 patients who received RA or GA for surgery on their extremities.

The nonsurgical population had partly outdated and distorted attitudes toward, and experiences with, anesthesia. RA was remembered as unpleasant more often than GA. GA was considered the more pleasant, but riskier method. Comparably frequent, but different fears were expressed toward each technique. GA was preferred more often.

The majority of patients for surgery questioned the anesthesiologist preoperatively. The fear of RA could frequently be eliminated by an informative premedication discussion. Rarely, the performance of RA and induction of GA were felt as unpleasant. Even though the majority of patients were awake under RA, few experienced surgery as unpleasant. Following RA, the patients were more alert during the day of surgery. Postoperative pain started a few hours later following RA.

The incidence of postoperative vomiting, headaches, and disturbances of micturition were not different following RA and GA. Throat complaints were more common following GA, back pain following RA. During the premedication visit, the anesthesiologist should be aware that patients bring partly outdated and distorted attitudes toward anesthesia but that overall they are comparably satisfied with RA and GA.

  • Anesthesia
  • regional
  • general
  • Attitudes
  • Experiences
  • Premedication visit
  • Preoperative anxiety
  • Postoperative sequelae

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