Comparison of general anaesthesia versus regional anaesthesia with sedation in selected maxillofacial surgery: a randomized controlled trial

Amit Rastogi, Prakhar Gyanesh, Surbhi Nisha, Appurva Agarwal, Priya Mishra, Akhilesh Kumar Tiwari
Journal of Cranio-maxillo-facial Surgery 2014, 42 (3): 250-4

BACKGROUND: The airway is the foremost challenge in maxillofacial surgery. The major concerns are difficulty in managing the patient's airway and sharing it between the anaesthetist and surgeons. General anaesthesia, with endotracheal intubation, is the commonly used technique for maxillofacial procedures. We assessed the efficacy and safety of a regional block with sedation technique in certain maxillofacial operations, specifically temporomandibular joint (TMJ) ankylosis and mandibular fracture cases, and compared it with conventional general anaesthesia. We compared the time to discharge from the post anaesthesia care unit (PACU) and the occurrence of side effects, as well as surgeon and patient satisfaction with the anaesthetic technique, between the two groups.

MATERIALS & METHODS: We enrolled 50 patients of ASA grade 1 or 2, aged 15-50 years, scheduled for maxillofacial surgery (mandibular fracture or TMJ ankylosis). The patients were divided into two groups of 25 each, to receive sedation with a regional block with the use of a peripheral nerve stimulator in group I and general anaesthesia in group II. We observed haemodynamic parameters, intraoperative and postoperative complications and the amount of surgical bleeding in the two groups. Total anaesthesia time, patient and surgeon satisfaction, time to rescue analgesia, the number of rescue doses required, and the time to discharge from the PACU were compared.

RESULTS: The groups were comparable with respect to demographic profile, intraoperative haemodynamic parameters, surgical time, and amount of blood loss. Postoperative pain was assessed using the visual analogue score (VAS). Patients in group I had lower VAS scores after surgery and remained pain-free for longer than those in group II. The mean pain-free interval in group I was 159.12 ± 43.95 min and in group II was 60.36 ± 19.77 min (p < 0.005). Patients in group I required lower doses of rescue analgesia than those undergoing the surgery under general anaesthesia (p < 0.005). Patients receiving regional blocks also had fewer episodes of postoperative nausea and vomiting (p = 0.005). These results led to earlier discharge of patients in group I from the PACU.

CONCLUSIONS: Regional block with sedation is a safe alternative technique for patients undergoing surgery for mandible fracture or TMJ ankylosis, with clear advantages over general anaesthesia.

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