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Surgery Blog

Very Special Delivery: Unused U.S. Surgical Supplies

Posted 3 days ago by

TUESDAY, Oct. 28, 2014 – Unused medical supplies from American hospitals could improve the safety of surgeries around the world, a new report says. Certain large academic U.S. medical centers alone produce about 2 million pounds of surplus medical supplies each year, the researchers estimated. "In ORs [operating rooms] throughout the U.S., surgical supplies are often packaged together. Upon being opened, there are commonly excess supplies that remain unused," said Dr. Richard Redett, a report co-author and director of pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgery at Johns Hopkins Cleft Lip and Palate Center. "Those items typically are taken off of the back table before the incision is made, so they're completely sterile and unused," he said in a news release from the Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons. The findings are based on the experiences of the Supporting ... Read more

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Brief Interruption of Blood Supply to Limb Might Aid Heart Surgery: Study

Posted 7 days ago by

FRIDAY, Oct. 24, 2014 – Interrupting blood supply to an arm or a leg before heart surgery may help reduce the risks associated with the surgery, according to a new study. "During heart surgery we have to stop the blood supply to the heart to be able to operate on it. After some time without fresh blood, the heart will reduce its ability to produce energy because it doesn't get oxygen. When we shut off the blood flow to another large muscle, such as an arm or a leg, the body prepares for an upcoming challenge by mobilizing its defense system," said the study's first author, Dr. Katrine Hordnes Slagsvold, a doctoral candidate from the K.G. Jebsen Center for Exercise in Medicine Cardiac Exercise Research Group at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway, in a university news release. The technique used in the study is called remote ischemic preconditioning ... Read more

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Anesthetic During Breast-Removal Surgery May Reduce Long-Term Pain

Posted 18 days ago by

MONDAY, Oct. 13, 2014 – Giving a common local anesthetic to women undergoing breast removal surgery – a mastectomy – reduces their risk of persistent pain after the procedure, a new study says. More than two-thirds of mastectomy patients experience chronic pain after surgery, which can significantly affect physical activity, physical and mental health, and quality of life. The pain also increases the risk of depression, sleep problems and use of anti-anxiety drugs, according to the authors of the study. "Unfortunately, chronic pain is a condition that many breast cancer patients endure after mastectomy," said lead author Dr. Mohamed Tiouririne, associate professor of anesthesiology at the University of Virginia. "Our findings indicate that intravenous (IV) lidocaine can protect mastectomy patients from developing chronic pain, possibly due to the anti-inflammatory effects associated ... Read more

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Chewing Gum Before Surgery Safe: Report

Posted 19 days ago by

SUNDAY, Oct. 12, 2014 – It's safe to chew gum while fasting before surgery, researchers report. Patients are usually told not to eat or drink before surgery to prevent complications while they're under anesthesia, but it wasn't clear if the same was true for chewing gum. This new study included 67 patients who underwent gastrointestinal endoscopic procedures. About half the patients were allowed to chew gum until just before the start of the procedure, with no limit on the amount or type of gum, or duration of chewing. The other patients did not chew gum. The patients who chewed gum had significantly increased volume of fluids in the stomach compared to those who didn't chew gum. But it was still safe to administer sedatives or anesthesia to the patients who chewed gum, according to the study to be presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, in ... Read more

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'High-Intensity' Hospitals Save More Elderly After Surgery: Study

Posted 1 Oct 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 1, 2014 – Hospitals that pull out all the stops to rescue surgical patients in crisis are slightly better at saving lives, but the cost of such heroism is questionable, a new study suggests. Highly aggressive hospitals are about 5 percent better at saving elderly patients with life-threatening complications after major surgery, compared with hospitals that operate with less intensity, said senior author Dr. Amir Ghaferi. He is assistant professor of surgery and chief of the Division of Veterans Administration at the University of Michigan Health Systems. "There was some benefit to being treated at a high-intensity hospital, where patients had a slight improvement in their rescue rates, but it wasn't a huge effect," Ghaferi said. But these aggressive hospitals have slightly higher rates of major complications and more inpatient deaths, Ghaferi and his colleagues found. ... Read more

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Daytime May Be Better for Gallbladder Removal

Posted 29 Sep 2014 by

FRIDAY, Sept. 26, 2014 – Patients who require gallbladder removal are more likely to have a minimally invasive procedure if they have the surgery during daytime rather than at night, a new study says. The study also found that it's safe for patients who arrive at the hospital at night to wait until the next day for the surgery. The minimally invasive procedure is called laparoscopic cholecystectomy, and is one of the most common abdominal surgeries in the United States, according to the study's authors. A tiny video camera and special surgical tools are inserted through small incisions in the abdomen, the researchers said. More invasive surgery, in which a large incision is made to remove the gallbladder, is called an open cholecystectomy, according to the researchers. "The urgency of removing the gallbladder is a topic of much debate among medical professionals," study author Dr. ... Read more

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Blood Test Might Predict Speed of Recovery From Surgery: Study

Posted 24 Sep 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 24, 2014 – Measuring the activity of a type of white blood cell immediately after surgery might reveal which patients are likely to recover quickly and those who won't, a preliminary study suggests. The study found that a high level of activity in certain white blood cells predicted a poorer recovery for people who'd just had hip replacement surgery. The researchers plan to test these findings in other operations to see if they can be duplicated. If so, they hope to develop a simple, inexpensive blood test that could guide patients and doctors in predicting recovery and planning medical care after an operation, according to lead researcher Dr. Brice Gaudilliere, a clinical instructor at the Stanford University School of Medicine. "Surprisingly, there is no way we can tell a patient how long it will take to recover," he said. "Over 100 million patients have surgery in ... Read more

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Females Overlooked in Basic Surgical Research, Study Says

Posted 4 Sep 2014 by

THURSDAY, Sept. 4, 2014 – Female animals or cells are rarely used in surgical research studies, even though sex differences can have a major impact on medical research, a new study finds. The finding has prompted the editors of five major surgical journals to require study authors to report the sex of animals and cells used in their research. If they use only one sex, they will have to explain why. "Women make up half the population, but in surgical literature, 80 percent of the studies only use males," study senior author Dr. Melina Kibbe, professor of surgical research at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a Northwestern news release. "We need to do better and provide basic research on both sexes to ultimately improve treatments for male and female patients," she added. Kribbe and her colleagues analyzed more than 600 studies that included animal or cell ... Read more

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Melatonin Doesn't Curb Delirium After Surgery

Posted 2 Sep 2014 by

TUESDAY, Sept. 2, 2014 – Melatonin supplements did not reduce delirium in seniors who had surgery for hip fractures, a new study found. Many older hospital patients experience the sudden, severe confusion known as delirium due to disruption of their normal sleep-wake cycle. A lack of the hormone melatonin may be one factor that contributes to delirium, but there has been little research into whether melatonin supplements would benefit these patients. This study included 378 patients, average age 84, who had hip fracture surgery. About half the patients were given melatonin supplements while the others received a placebo. "We observed no effect of melatonin on the incidence of delirium," Dr. Annemarieke de Jonghe, of the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and colleagues wrote. They also found that the average duration of delirium was the same for both groups of patients. ... Read more

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'Doctor-Shopping' for Painkillers Common After Broken-Bone Surgery, Study Finds

Posted 29 Aug 2014 by

FRIDAY, Aug. 29, 2014 – About one in five patients operated on for broken bones or other orthopedic trauma shops around for additional painkillers after surgery, a new study finds. Less-educated patients and patients who had used narcotic painkillers previously were several times more likely to be "doctor shoppers," said study lead author Dr. Brent Morris, a shoulder and neck surgeon in Lexington, Ky. Overall, he said, the study suggests that doctors aren't talking to one another about the painkiller needs of their patients. "There needs to be coordination if additional pain medications are needed," he said. "Patients should not be receiving multiple narcotic pain medication prescriptions from multiple providers without coordinating with their treating surgeon." Use of narcotic painkillers for nonmedical purposes is a serious concern in the United States. Unintentional overdose deaths ... Read more

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Study Questions Value of Certain Knee Surgeries

Posted 25 Aug 2014 by

MONDAY, Aug. 25, 2014 – Compared to conservative treatments, arthroscopic knee surgery offers no apparent benefit for middle-aged people with age-related tears of the meniscus – the cartilage that cushions the knee joint, according to a new analysis. This particular group of patients "may not benefit from rushing into arthroscopic surgery," said study researcher Dr. Moin Khan, chief resident of orthopedic surgery at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. Conservative treatment, such as anti-inflammatory medicine and physical therapy, should be tried first, the researchers said. Arthroscopic knee surgery is common, with more than 700,000 of the minimally invasive procedures done each year in the United States, according to background information in the report. In the surgery, also known as meniscal debridement, small keyhole-type incisions are made to remove fragments of the damaged ... Read more

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Cosmetic Eye Procedure May Ease Migraines, Small Study Says

Posted 22 Aug 2014 by

FRIDAY, Aug. 22, 2014 – Cosmetic eyelid surgery involving specific nerves may do more than improve your looks – the procedure may also provide migraine relief for some, according to new research. The technique involves making incisions in the upper eyelid to deactivate so-called "trigger" nerves. This process also lifts the lid, a technique known as blepharoplasty. The new approach is an alternative to another surgery sometimes used to treat migraines. That one approaches the nerves under the skin but starts at the scalp. Both procedures are known as trigger-site deactivation surgeries. Some neurologists and others who care for people with migraines view the procedures as unproven. But when the surgery is used in appropriate patients, migraine improvement is common, said study researcher Dr. Oren Tessler, an assistant professor of clinical surgery at the Louisiana State University ... Read more

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Treatment Delays for Many Who Need Gallbladder Surgery: Study

Posted 15 Aug 2014 by

THURSDAY, Aug. 14, 2014 – About one in five patients with gallbladder pain don't have emergency surgery when they first need it, a new study finds. Most patients who require emergency gallbladder surgery are easily identified, but some present more of a challenge, the researchers noted. The researchers analyzed data from more than 3,000 patients with abdominal pain who went to the emergency department at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and underwent gallbladder surgery within 30 days. Of those patients, more than 1,600 had emergency gallbladder surgery and about 1,500 were sent home and told to book surgery at a later date. Of those sent home, 20 percent returned to the ER within a month and had emergency gallbladder surgery. And, 55 percent of that group was back for emergency surgery within a week of their first ER visit, the findings showed. Younger people without any other ... Read more

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Cholesterol Drugs May Speed Healing After Surgery

Posted 31 Jul 2014 by

THURSDAY, July 31, 2014 – Recovery time after surgery may be reduced for patients taking the cholesterol-lowering medications known as statins, according to a new study. The study's Irish researchers suspect that the drugs may affect the body's inflammatory response, reducing the amount of time surgical patients' wounds need to heal. And that seemed to be particularly true among people who tend to have healing complications. "Statins have become one of the most widely prescribed medications in the world. While they are typically used to manage high cholesterol levels, a number of researchers have been investigating the benefits of statins in other conditions, such as severe infections or following organ transplantation," said the study's lead author, Dr. Gerard Fitzmaurice, from Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Dublin, Ireland, in a news release from the Society for Thoracic Surgeons. ... Read more

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Surgery Soon After Stroke Can Be Risky: Study

Posted 15 Jul 2014 by

TUESDAY, July 15, 2014 – People who've had a stroke face a significantly higher risk of serious complications if they have an elective surgery during the nine months following their stroke, according to a new Danish study. And, the sooner it is after the stroke, the greater the risk. The odds of another stroke, heart attack or cardiovascular death are 14 times higher for people who have elective surgery within three months of a stroke, the study found. If you wait until between three and six months post-stroke, the odds drop to about five times as high compared to someone who hasn't had a stroke. At six to 12 months after a stroke, the odds of a serious outcome are about three times higher versus those who've never had a stroke. About nine months after a stroke, the risks from surgery are still elevated but have stabilized, according to the study's lead author, Dr. Mads Jorgensen, a ... Read more

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