September 2, 2009
After-hours bone surgery slightly riskier
It may pay for those needing surgery to wait until morning if given a choice, U.S. researchers suggest.
The study, published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, found after-hours orthopedic surgeries risk a slightly higher rate of necessary follow-up surgeries.
Although everyone wants to be treated immediately, it may be in a patient's best interest to wait until morning,lead author Dr. William M. Ricci of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis said in a statement.
The reality is that the on-call night surgical team may not be well rested as it is likely they had just finished a normal day shift.
The researchers tracked the results of 203 patients with either a thighbone fracture or shin bone shaft fracture, who were each treated with intramedullary nail fixation -- a supportive rod used to stabilize the bone. The patients were primarily divided into two groups -- a daytime group, surgery from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., or those who had surgery between 4 p.m. to 6 a.m.
All patients were given the same treatments.
The after-hours group had more unplanned follow-up operations than the daytime group, but removal of painful hardware was more frequent in an after-hours group, the researchers said.