How safe are overlapping surgeries?


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
El acceso al contenido completo es sólo para profesionales sanitarios registrados. El acceso al contenido completo es sólo para profesionales sanitarios registrados.

Findings from a new analysis suggest overlapping surgery is likely to be a safe practice for most patients, but certain groups may be at higher risk of increased mortality and complications. 

The retrospective study examined associations between overlapping surgery and in-hospital mortality, in-hospital post-operative complications and length of surgery among 66,430 procedures performed by 207 surgeons. The procedures included total knee or hip arthroplasty; lumbar, thoracic, or cervical spine surgery; coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery or craniotomy. 

Seventy-three per cent of surgeons performed overlapping procedures and among these, the mean percentage of a surgeon’s cases that were overlapping was 12 per cent.  

The study found no significant difference between overlapping versus non-overlapping surgery for in-hospital mortality (1.9% versus 1.6%, respectively) or post-operative complications (12.8% versus 11.8%, respectively). Overlapping surgery was, however, significantly associated with increased surgery length (204 versus 173 minutes). 

An exploratory subgroup analysis found that in high-risk versus low-risk patients, overlapping surgery was significantly associated with increased mortality (5.8% versus 4.7%; P=.03) and complications rate (29.2% versus 27.0%; P=.03).

Writing in JAMA, the authors said the findings among high-risk patients warrant further investigation.