Background and Aims Microvascular flap surgery is an effective method for difficult reconstructions and major defects. There is an ongoing debate about the preferred method of anaesthesia for flap success. We aim to evaluate the differences in the rate of microvascular flap surgery complications and duration of hospitalization between patients receiving regional anaesthesia (RA) and general anaesthesia (GA).
Methods This retrospective cohort study includes 54 adult patients undergoing elective microvascular flap surgery. The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Riga Stradins University. The method of anaesthesia was chosen according to individual surgical necessity. Patients were divided into two groups – RA group (N=25) and GA group (N=29). Postoperative outcome data on surgical flap complications, duration of intensive care stay, and total duration of hospitalization was obtained.
Results RA and GA groups had no statistically significant differences in the rate of flap failure, infection, hematoma, or any other type of flap complication. GA group had a mean intensive care stay duration of 2.33 days (CI95% 0.62–5.25). RA group had a significantly lower mean intensive care stay duration of 0.26 days (0.06–0.57; p=0.002). GA group had a mean hospitalization duration of 24.4 days (14.42–34.31). RA group had a comparatively lower mean hospitalization duration of 14.25 days (9.55–19.01; p=0.032).
Conclusions The rate of surgical complications in microvascular flap surgery is equal for both RA and GA. Patients who receive GA have a longer mean intensive care stay and duration of hospitalization. In contrast to previous assertions, a meticulously administered regional anaesthesia might be preferred when surgically feasible.
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