The optimal anesthetic technique for peripheral vascular surgery remains controversial. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of spinal versus general anesthesia on postoperative pain, analgesic requirements and postoperative comfort in patients undergoing peripheral vascular surgery. A total of 40 patients scheduled for peripheral vascular surgery were randomly assigned to two groups of 20 patients each to receive general anesthesia (GA) or spinal anesthesia (SA). In GA group, anesthesia was induced using thiopental and fentanyl. Vecuronium was used for muscle relaxation. Anaesthesia was maintained with isoflurane and nitrous oxide. In the SA group, hyperbaric 0.5% bupivacaine was injected into the subarachnoid space. Postoperative pain was assessed for 24 hours by a visual analog scale during three assessment periods: 0–4, 4–12 and 12–24 h as well as analgesic requirements. Patients were also asked to assess their postoperative state as satisfactory or unsatisfactory with regard to the pain, side effects and postoperative nausea and vomiting. Visual analogue scale (VAS) pain score was significantly lower in the group SA compared with group GA. This effect was mainly due to the lower pain score during the first study period. The patients received general anesthesia also reported a significantly higher rate of unsatisfactory postoperative comfort than those receiving spinal anesthesia. We conclude that spinal anesthesia is superior to general anesthesia when considering patients’ satisfaction, side effects and early postoperative analgesic management.