Safety of Hand and Shoulder Surgeries in Outpatient Facilities

Outpatient surgery centers have grown increasingly popular due to their comfort, convenience and significant cost-savings for patients. And now, research published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery finds that these facilities have extremely high safety ratings in one particular area.

A recent study of hand and shoulder surgeries in freestanding, outpatient surgery centers found a 0.2 complication rate over an 11 year period. Kanu S. Goyal, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, led the study of nearly 29,000 patients. Researchers reviewed patient records of hand and upper extremity surgical procedures performed in a Pennsylvania outpatient surgical facility. Surgical complications were classified into seven categories:

  • Infection requiring antibiotics or return to operating room
  • Transfer to hospital
  • Surgery on the wrong site
  • Foreign objects left inside the patient
  • Postoperative blood clots or deep vein thrombosis
  • Medication error
  • Bleeding complications

Throughout the study period, researchers noted a total of 58 reportable complications in the following categories:

  • 14 patients sustained a postoperative infection
  • 18 patients were transferred to a hospitable for medical treatment
  • 21 patients were admitted to the hospital after being discharged from the outpatient surgery center
  • 1 patient experienced a medication error
  • 4 patients experienced postoperative blood clots

Goyal remarks that these results show the safety of hand and upper extremity procedures in outpatient facilities for the right patients (Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons).

If you are considering an outpatient surgical facility for your next procedure, ask your specialist or physician whether you may be a candidate. There are several criteria to consider, including your medical history, current conditions and overall health. Safety is always the number one priority, so talk to your doctor about the best facility to meet your needs.

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