Debunking A Surgical Superstition
(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Some people believe what time of the year a person has surgery can have a significant effect on how well that surgery goes. Called the “July Effect”, it is thought that July is the worst month to have surgery due to new residents and fellows entering teaching hospitals. However, a new study by the Mayo Clinic proves that the “July Effect” is nothing more than superstition.
The study looked at information on hospitalized patients in the United States between 2001 and 2008 using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample. In particular, researchers recorded spinal surgery outcomes in relation to the month of surgery and whether or not the surgery took place in a teaching hospital or non-teaching hospital.
"While we only looked at spinal surgeries, we think it's likely we'd find similar outcomes among other surgeries and procedures,” study co-author Jennifer McDonald, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic radiologist was quoted as saying.
Although the study did find a slightly increased incidence of postoperative infection and patient discharge to a long-term facility during the month of July for surgeries that took place in a teaching hospital, the rate of in-hospital deaths and postoperative complications were similar no matter what the month of hospital admission.
"We hope that our findings will reassure patients that they are not at higher risk of medical complications if they undergo spinal surgery during July as compared to other times of the year," McDonald was quoted as saying.
Source: Neurosurgery: Spine, January 2013