No 'Downside' With Residents Assisting During Neurosurgery

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Residents Assisting During Neurosurgery
Residents Assisting During Neurosurgery

(HealthDay News) — Patients undergoing brain or spine surgery are at no greater risk if residents assist during the operation, a new study indicates. The findings were published recently in the Journal of Neurosurgery.

Researchers looked at results of 16,098 brain and spine surgeries performed between 2006–2012. The information was from the database of the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program.

An initial comparison showed that surgeries where a fully trained surgeon operated along with the help of a resident had a complication rate of 20.12%, compared to a complication rate of 11.70% when residents weren't involved. The resident-assisted surgeries were also associated with a slightly greater risk of death following surgery. But when the researchers adjusted the data to take into account the patients' general health and the severity of their condition, there was no increased risk from having a resident take part in the surgery.

The researchers said their findings could help doctors reassure their patients about the presence of residents in the operating room. "It allows us to say, 'Not only do we believe this, but it's also been shown in a population of patients across the country who undergo neurosurgery that there is no downside,'" study author Judy Huang, MD, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, said in a university news release.

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