Spinal analgesia for laparoscopic colonic resection using an enhanced recovery after surgery programme: better analgesia, but no benefits on postoperative recovery: a randomized controlled trial

Br J Anaesth. 2012 May;108(5):850-6. doi: 10.1093/bja/aes028. Epub 2012 Mar 8.


Background: This study was undertaken to determine the impact of an intrathecal mixture of bupivacaine and morphine, when compared with systemic morphine, on the quality of postoperative analgesia and other outcomes in the context of the enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) programme for laparoscopic colonic resection.

Methods: Fifty patients undergoing general anaesthesia were randomly allocated to receive either a spinal mixture of bupivacaine and morphine followed by oral oxycodone (spinal group) or patient-controlled analgesia (PCA group). The primary outcome was consumption of opioids during the first three postoperative days. Secondary outcomes were pain scores, return of bowel function and dietary intake, readiness to hospital discharge, and length of hospital stay.

Results: Postoperative opioid consumption in the spinal group was significantly less over the first three postoperative days (P<0.001). The quality of analgesia at rest in the first 24 h was better in the spinal group (P<0.005). Excessive sedation and respiratory depression were reported in two elderly patients with spinal analgesia. There were no differences between the two groups in other outcomes (return of bowel function and dietary intake, readiness to hospital discharge, and length of hospital stay).

Conclusions: When ERAS programme is used for laparoscopic colonic resection, an intrathecal mixture of bupivacaine and morphine was associated with less postoperative opioid consumption, but has no other advantages over systemic opioids.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analgesia, Patient-Controlled / methods
  • Analgesics, Opioid / administration & dosage
  • Anesthesia Recovery Period
  • Anesthesia, General
  • Anesthesia, Spinal / methods*
  • Anesthetics, Local / administration & dosage
  • Bupivacaine / administration & dosage
  • Colectomy / adverse effects
  • Colectomy / methods*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy / adverse effects
  • Laparoscopy / methods
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morphine / administration & dosage
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control*
  • Postoperative Care / methods
  • Postoperative Complications


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Drug Combinations
  • Morphine
  • Bupivacaine