Many reasons have been advanced for using spinal anesthesia, ranging from pure convenience to increased safety for the patient. This type of anesthesia has been utilized for every type of operation, from removal of warts and ingrown toenails to craniotomy. As with other forms of anesthesia, too much emphasis has been placed on the selection of the agent and method rather than on the skill and experience of the one responsible for the administration.
This form of anesthesia is so generally and successfully employed for surgery of the lower part of the abdomen and the extremities that its use for surgery in these areas will not be considered in this paper. On the other hand, the utilization of spinal anesthesia for surgery of the chest, head and neck is considered to be fraught with too many dangers to allow for its general use. This discussion, therefore, will be limited to