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Surgery Blog

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

Posted 2 days 19 hours ago 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 7 days ago 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 10 days ago 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 17 days ago 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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Blood Thinners May Not Be Needed for Kids' Back Surgery

Posted 15 Jul 2014 by

TUESDAY, July 15, 2014 – Most children who have spinal surgery don't require anti-clotting drugs because blood clots occur so rarely in these procedures, a new study says. Instead of the risky and costly blood-thinning drugs, close monitoring after surgery is enough for most of these patients, according to the Johns Hopkins Children's Center researchers. Anti-clotting drugs should be considered only for young spinal surgery patients who are at increased risk for blood clots, the study authors said. These include those older than 18, kids with spinal curvatures present at birth, and those with spinal curvatures that are part of an overall condition and accompanied by other health problems that may interfere with normal blood clotting. The researchers analyzed the outcomes of nearly 22,000 children across the United States who had spinal fusion surgery between 2001 and 2010. This is the ... Read more

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Delaying Kid's Knee Surgery Could Be a Bad Play, Study Finds

Posted 14 Jul 2014 by

FRIDAY, July 11, 2014 – Delaying surgery to repair damage to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) – the main ligament in the middle of the knee – could increase a young athlete's risk for further injuries, researchers report. They analyzed the medical records of 130 patients, aged 8 to 16, who had ACL reconstruction surgery. Of those patients, 62 had surgery less than six weeks after their injury, 37 had surgery six to 12 weeks after, and the others had surgery more than three months after their injury. The youngsters who had surgery later had higher rates of secondary knee injuries and more severe injuries, according to the study. Researchers presented the findings Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine in Seattle. One common type of secondary knee injury is a meniscal tear. The meniscus is a rubbery disc that cushions the knee. The ... Read more

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Young Pro Pitchers May Face Higher Risk of 'Tommy John' Surgery: Study

Posted 10 Jul 2014 by

THURSDAY, July 10, 2014 – Pitchers who start playing Major League Baseball at a young age may be at increased risk for requiring elbow surgery later in their career, according to a new study. Researchers looked at 168 pitchers who spent at least one season in the major leagues and subsequently had surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in the elbow of their throwing arm. These players were compared to 178 age-matched major league pitchers who did not undergo UCL reconstruction, widely referred to as "Tommy John" surgery. About 60 percent of the pitchers who required UCL reconstruction had the surgery within their first five years of being in the major leagues. Compared to pitchers who did not have the surgery, those who underwent the procedure had more major league experience at the same age, which suggests that arm stress from earlier major league experience ... Read more

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Less May Be More When It Comes to Gallbladder Surgery

Posted 8 Jul 2014 by

TUESDAY, July 8, 2014 – Less aggressive treatment will likely lead to better outcomes for people having their gallbladders removed, according to a pair of new studies. One study found that people with gallstones do better if doctors just remove their gallbladder, instead of first snaking a scope inside to assess the medical problem. "They were able to show that patients in this group did just as well without testing prior to having their gallbladder taken out," said Dr. Joseph Solomkin, a surgeon at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine who wrote an editorial accompanying the studies published July 9 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The other study found that doctors can skip ordering antibiotic treatment after gallbladder surgery without increasing patients' risk of infection. "They showed that post-surgical antibiotics simply aren't necessary, that one ... Read more

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Diabetics Fare Worse After Heart Surgery, Study Finds

Posted 29 May 2014 by

THURSDAY, May 29, 2014 – People with diabetes have an increased risk of problems after heart bypass surgery, a new study finds. Researchers looked at more than 9,200 patients in China who underwent coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) between 1999 and 2008, and found that those with diabetes had worse outcomes after two years than those without the condition. Costs were also higher among patients with diabetes, according to the study in the June issue of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery. These expenses were mainly due to additional hospitalizations and medical procedures, and the use of insulin and other medications. "Based on the results of our study, we highly recommend an individualized treatment plan and a heart team approach for patients with diabetes who require CABG surgery," lead author Dr. Heng Zhang, of Fuwai Hospital in China, said in a journal news release. "We also ... Read more

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Air Travel Safe After Chest Surgery, Surgeon Says

Posted 25 May 2014 by

FRIDAY, May 23, 2014 – If you're returning home after having chest surgery at an out-of-town hospital, flying is as safe as driving, an expert says. It's widely believed that ground travel is safer than air travel after chest surgery, but a study by Mayo Clinic thoracic surgeon Dr. Stephen Cassivi found that isn't true. He also concluded there is no reason to wait for weeks after chest surgery to fly home. "In general, travel after surgery can be done if it's well-organized and thought out ahead of time," he said in a Mayo news release. Cassivi found that chest surgery patients heading home by air or by car had a similar low risk for complications such as pneumonia, blood clots and collapsed lung. "And that speaks to a very important question that's often managed by dogma or urban myth, hospital myth. We found that although it's not a zero risk, the risk is low, and the risk is the ... Read more

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Timing Influences Risk of Complications From Circumcision: Study

Posted 12 May 2014 by

MONDAY, May 12, 2014 – Circumcision during infancy has a low rate of complications, but the risk becomes much higher as boys get older, a new study reports. American researchers analyzed data from 1.4 million boys who underwent circumcision, about 93 percent of whom were circumcised as newborns. The overall rate of 41 possible complications was less than 0.5 percent. But the risk of complications was 20 times higher for those circumcised between ages 1 to 9, and 10 times higher for those circumcised at age 10 or older, than for boys circumcised when they were less than a year old, the researchers found. The study, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, was published online May 12 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. "Given the current debate about whether [circumcision] should be delayed from infancy to adulthood for autonomy ... Read more

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Surgical Treatments Equally Effective for Women With Poor Leg Circulation

Posted 7 May 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, May 7, 2014 – Minimally invasive treatment for narrowing of the arteries in the legs, hands and feet is as effective in women as in men. That's the main finding from a study that looked at the effects of artery-opening treatments such as angioplasty and stent placement in patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD is a condition where fat deposits build up in arteries outside of the heart, such as those that supply blood to the arms, legs and feet. "We found that women had excellent outcomes compared to men, even though they were older and had more severe disease," study senior author Dr. P. Michael Grossman, an interventional cardiologist at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center, and director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory at the Veterans Administration Ann Arbor Healthcare System, said in a university news release. Researchers analyzed ... Read more

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Scientists Create First Living Organism From Artificial DNA

Posted 7 May 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, May 7, 2014 – Move over, Frankenstein! Your 21st-century counterpart has just been announced. In true sci-fi fashion, a team of researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla, Calif., has created a brand-new bacteria based on a genetic structure found nowhere on Earth. According to lead researcher Floyd Romesberg, the feat involved artificially engineering a unique combination of DNA material – a combination not found in any living creature – and then successfully inserting it into a living cell that usually contains only natural combinations of DNA. "Life on Earth in all its diversity is encoded by only two pairs of DNA bases, A-T and C-G," Romesberg explained in an institute news release. "And what we've made is an organism that stably contains those two plus a third, unnatural pair of bases." "This shows that other solutions to storing [genetic] ... Read more

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Ophthalmic Surgery, Surgical Prophylaxis, Neurosurgery, Head & Neck Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Gastrointestinal Surgery, Vascular Surgery, Postoperative Albumin Loss, Genitourinary Surgical and Other Conditions, Biliary Tract Surgery, Extracorporeal Perfusion