The latest medical research on General Surgery

The research magnet gathers the latest research from around the web, based on your specialty area. Below you will find a sample of some of the most recent articles from reputable medical journals about general surgery gathered by our medical AI research bot.

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Enhanced recovery after surgery pathway in patients with soft tissue sarcoma.

Br J Surg

Patients undergoing surgery for soft tissue sarcoma have high morbidity rates, particularly after preoperative radiation therapy (RT). An enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) programme may improve perioperative outcomes in abdominal surgery. This study reported outcomes of an ERAS programme tailored to patients with soft tissue sarcoma.

A prospective ERAS protocol was implemented in 2015 at a high-volume sarcoma centre. Patients treated within the ERAS programme from 2015 to 2018 were case-matched retrospectively with patients treated between 2012 and 2018 without use of the protocol, matched by surgical site, surgeon, sarcoma histology and preoperative RT treatment. Postoperative outcomes, specifically wound complications and duration of hospital stay, were reported.

In total, 234 patients treated within the ERAS programme were matched with 237 who were not. The ERAS group had lower wound dehiscence rates overall (2 of 234 (0·9 per cent) versus 31 of 237 (13·1 per cent); P < 0·001), after preoperative RT (0 of 41 versus 11 of 51; P = 0·004) and after extremity sarcoma surgery (0 of 54 versus 6 of 56; P = 0·040) compared with the non-ERAS group. Rates of postoperative ileus or obstruction were lower in the ERAS group (21 of 234 (9·9 per cent) versus 40 of 237 (16·9 per cent); P = 0·016) and in those with retroperitoneal sarcoma (4 of 36 versus 15 of 36; P = 0·007). Duration of hospital stay was shorter in the ERAS group (median 5 (range 0-36) versus 6 (0-67) days; P = 0·003).

Treatment within an ERAS protocol for patients with soft tissue sarcoma was associated with lower morbidity and shorter hospital stay.

Patient-reported chronic pain after open inguinal hernia repair with lightweight or heavyweight mesh: a prospective, patient-reported outcomes study.

Br J Surg

Chronic pain after groin hernia repair is a significant problem, and it is unclear whether or not lightweight meshes help. This national register-based study investigated whether patients who underwent open anterior mesh inguinal hernia repair with lightweight mesh had less chronic pain than those who had hernia repair with heavyweight mesh.

All patients registered in the Swedish Hernia Register between September 2012 and October 2016 were asked to complete a questionnaire assessing patient-reported outcome measures 1 year after surgery. The present study examined open anterior repair with mesh sutured in place with non-absorbable sutures in male patients only. The primary endpoint, chronic pain, was defined as pain present in the past week that could not be ignored and interfered with concentration (on chores) and daily activities.

In total, 23 259 male patients provided data for analysis (response rate 70·6 per cent). Rates of chronic pain after repairs using regular polypropylene lightweight mesh, composite (poliglecaprone-25) polypropylene lightweight mesh and polypropylene heavyweight mesh were 15·8, 15·6 and 16·2 per cent respectively. Adjusted multiple logistic regression analysis showed no significant differences between regular (odds ratio (OR) 0·98, 95 per cent c.i. 0·90 to 1·06) or composite (OR 0·95, 0·86 to 1·04) lightweight mesh versus heavyweight mesh. The most striking risk factor for chronic pain was young age; 19·4 per cent of patients aged less than 50 years experienced pain 1 year after hernia repair (OR 1·43, 1·29 to 1·60).

Patient-reported chronic pain 1 year after open mesh repair of inguinal hernia was common, particularly in young men. The risk of developing chronic pain was not influenced by the type of mesh.

Association of Medicaid Expansion Under the Affordable Care Act With Breast Cancer Stage at Diagnosis.

JAMA Surgery

The expansion of Medicaid sought to fill gaps in insurance coverage among low-income Americans. Although coverage has improved, little is known about the relationship between Medicaid expansion and breast cancer stage at diagnosis.

To review the association of Medicaid expansion with breast cancer stage at diagnosis and the disparities associated with insurance status, age, and race/ethnicity.

This cohort study used data from the National Cancer Database to characterize the relationship between breast cancer stage and race/ethnicity, age, and insurance status. Data from 2007 to 2016 were obtained, and breast cancer stage trends were assessed. Additionally, preexpansion years (2012-2013) were compared with postexpansion years (2015-2016) to assess Medicaid expansion in 2014. Data were analyzed from August 12, 2019, to January 19, 2020. The cohort included a total of 1 796 902 patients with primary breast cancer who had private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid or were uninsured across 45 states.

Percent change of uninsured patients with breast cancer and stage at diagnosis, stratified by insurance status, race/ethnicity, age, and state.

This study included a total of 1 796 902 women. Between 2012 and 2016, 71 235 (4.0%) were uninsured or had Medicaid. Among all races/ethnicities, in expansion states, there was a reduction in uninsured patients from 22.6% (4771 of 21 127) to 13.5% (2999 of 22 150) (P < .001), and in nonexpansion states, there was a reduction from 36.5% (5431 of 14 870) to 35.6% (4663 of 13 088) (P = .12). Across all races, there was a reduction in advanced-stage disease from 21.8% (4603 of 21 127) to 19.3% (4280 of 22 150) (P < .001) in expansion states compared with 24.2% (3604 of 14 870) to 23.5% (3072 of 13 088) (P = .14) in nonexpansion states. In African American patients, incidence of advanced disease decreased from 24.6% (1017 of 4136) to 21.6% (920 of 4259) (P < .001) in expansion states and remained at approximately 27% (27.4% [1220 of 4453] to 27.5% [1078 of 3924]; P = .94) in nonexpansion states. Further analysis suggested that the improvement was associated with a reduction in stage 3 diagnoses.

In this cohort study, expansion of Medicaid was associated with a reduced number of uninsured patients and a reduced incidence of advanced-stage breast cancer. African American patients and patients younger than 50 years experienced particular benefit. These data suggest that increasing access to health care resources may alter the distribution of breast cancer stage at diagnosis.

Engagement and Effectiveness of a Smoking Cessation Quitline Intervention in a Thoracic Surgery Clinic.

JAMA Surgery

Smoking quitline programs effectively promote smoking cessation in outpatient primary care settings.

To examine the factors associated with smoking quitline engagement and smoking cessation among patients undergoing thoracic surgery who consented to a quitline electronic referral.

A retrospective cohort study was conducted from January 1, 2014, to December 31, 2018, among 111 active smoking patients referred to the quitline from a thoracic surgery outpatient clinic visit. Patients were divided into operative and nonoperative cohorts.

Primary outcomes were engagement rates in the quitline program and successful smoking cessation. Secondary outcomes were self-reported point prevalence abstinence at 1 month and 6 months after the smoking quit date.

Of 111 patients (62 men; mean [SD] age, 61.8 [11.2] years) who had a quitline referral, 58 (52%) underwent surgery, and 32 of these 58 patients (55%) participated in the program. Of the 53 nonoperative patients (48%), 24 (45%) participated in the program. In the operative cohort, there was no difference in the smoking cessation rate between quitline participants and nonparticipants (21 of 32 [66%] vs 16 of 6 [62%]; P = .79) or in point prevalence abstinence at 1 month (23 of 32 [72%] vs 14 of 25 [56%]; P = .27) or 6 months (14 of 28 [50%] vs 6 of 18 [33%]; P = .36). Similarly, in the nonoperative cohort, there was no difference in the smoking cessation rate between quitline participants and nonparticipants (8 of 24 [33%] vs 11 of 29 [38%]; P = .78) or in point prevalence abstinence at 1 month (7 of 24 [29%] vs 8 of 27 [30%]; P = .99) or 6 months (6 of 23 [26%] vs 6 of 25 [24%]; P = .99). Regardless of quitline participation, operative patients had a 1.8-fold higher proportion of successful smoking cessation compared with nonoperative patients (37 of 58 [64%] vs 19 of 53 [36%]; P = .004) as well as a 2.2-fold higher proportion of 1-month point prevalence abstinence (37 of 57 [65%] vs 15 of 51 [29%]; P < .001) and a 1.8-fold higher proportion of 6-month point prevalence abstinence (20 of 45 [44%] vs 12 of 48 [25%]; P = .05). Having surgery doubled the odds of smoking cessation (odds ratio, 2.44; 95% CI, 1.06-5.64; P = .04) and quitline engagement tripled the odds of remaining smoke free at 6 months (odds ratio, 3.57; 95% CI, 1.03-12.38; P = .04).

Patients undergoing thoracic surgery were nearly twice as likely to quit smoking as those who did not have an operation, and smoking quitline participation further augmented point prevalence abstinence. Improved smoking cessation rates, even among nonoperative patients, were associated with appropriate outpatient counseling and intervention.

Bridging the Age Gap: a prognostic model that predicts survival and aids in primary treatment decisions for older women with oestrogen receptor-positive early breast cancer.

Br J Surg

A prognostic model was developed and validated using cancer registry data. This underpins an online decision support tool, informing primary treatment choice for women aged 70 years or older with hormone receptor-positive early breast cancer.

Data from women diagnosed between 2002 and 2010 in the English Northern and Yorkshire and West Midlands regions were used to develop the model. Primary treatment options of surgery with adjuvant endocrine therapy or primary endocrine therapy were compared. Models predicting the hazard of breast cancer-specific mortality and hazard of other-cause mortality were combined to derive survival probabilities. The model was validated externally using data from the Eastern Cancer Registration and Information Centre.

The model was developed using data from 23 842 women, and validated externally on a data set from 14 526 patients. The overall model calibration was good. At 2 and 5 years, predicted mortality from breast cancer and other causes differed from the observed rate by less than 1 per cent. At 5 years, there were slight overpredictions in breast cancer mortality (2629 predicted versus 2556 observed deaths; P = 0·142) and mortality from all causes (6399 versus 6320 respectively; P = 0·583). The discrepancy varied between subgroups. Model discrimination was 0·75 or above for all mortality measures.

A prognostic model for older women with oestrogen receptor-positive early breast cancer was developed and validated in the present study. This forms a basis for an online decision support tool (

The Lifebox Surgical Headlight Project: engineering, testing, and field assessment in a resource-constrained setting.

Br J Surg

Poor surgical lighting represents a major patient safety issue in low-income countries. This study evaluated device performance and undertook field assessment of high-quality headlights in Ethiopia to identify critical attributes that might improve safety and encourage local use.

Following an open call for submissions (December 2018 to January 2019), medical and technical (non-medical) headlights were identified for controlled specification testing on 14 prespecified parameters related to light quality/intensity, mounting and battery performance, including standardized illuminance measurements over time. The five highest-performing devices (differential illumination, colour rendering, spot size, mounting and battery duration) were distributed to eight Ethiopian surgeons working in resource-constrained facilities. Surgeons evaluated the devices in operating rooms, and in a comparative session rated each headlight in terms of performance and willingness to purchase.

Of 25 submissions, eight headlights (6 surgical and 2 technical) met the criteria for full specification testing. Scores ranged from 8 to 12 (of 14), with differential performance in lighting, mounting and battery domains. Only two headlights met the illuminance parameters of more than 35 000 lux during initial testing, and no headlight satisfied all minimum specifications. Of the five headlights evaluated in Ethiopia, daily operation logbooks noted variability in surgeons' opinions of lighting quality (6-92 per cent) and spot size (0-92 per cent). Qualitative interviews also yielded important feedback, including preference for easy transport. Surgeons sought high quality with price sensitivity (using out-of-pocket funds) and identified the least expensive but high-functioning device as their first choice.

No device satisfied all the predetermined specifications, and large price discrepancies were critical factors leading surgeons' choices. The favoured device is undergoing modification by the manufacturer based on design feedback so an affordable, high-quality surgical headlight crafted specifically for the needs of resource-constrained settings can be used to improve surgical safety.

Modelling centralization of pancreatic surgery in a nationwide analysis.

Br J Surg

The benefits of centralization of pancreatic surgery have been documented, but policy differs between countries. This study aimed to model various centralization criteria for their effect on a nationwide cohort.

Data on all pancreatic resections performed between 2014 and 2016 were obtained from the Italian Ministry of Health. Mortality was assessed for different hospital volume categories and for each individual facility. Observed mortality and risk-standardized mortality rate (RSMR) were calculated. Various models of centralization were tested by applying volume criteria alone or in combination with mortality thresholds.

A total of 395 hospitals performed 12 662 resections; 305 hospitals were in the very low-volume category (mean 2·6 resections per year). The nationwide mortality rate was 6·2 per cent, increasing progressively from 3·1 per cent in very high-volume to 10·6 per cent in very low-volume hospitals. For the purposes of centralization, applying a minimum volume threshold of at least ten resections per year would lead to selection of 92 facilities, with an overall mortality rate of 5·3 per cent. However, the mortality rate would exceed 5 per cent in 48 hospitals and be greater than 10 per cent in 17. If the minimum volume were 25 resections per year, the overall mortality rate would be 4·7 per cent in 38 facilities, but still over 5 per cent in 17 centres and more than 10 per cent in five. The combination of a volume requirement (at least 10 resections per year) with a mortality threshold (maximum RSMR 5 or 10 per cent) would allow exclusion of facilities with unacceptable results, yielding a lower overall mortality rate (2·7 per cent in 45 hospitals or 4·2 per cent in 76 respectively).

The best performance model for centralization involved a threshold for volume combined with a mortality threshold.

Trends in Female Authorship in High Impact Surgical Journals Between 2008 and 2018.

Annals of Surgery

This study evaluates the distribution of authorship by sex over the last 10 years among the top 25 surgical journals.

Despite an increase in women entering surgical residency, there remains a sex disparity in surgical leadership. Scholarly activity is the foundation for academic promotion. However, few studies have evaluated productivity by sex in surgical literature.

Original research in the 25 highest-impact general surgery/subspecialty journals were included (1/2008-5/2018). Journals with <70% identified author sex were excluded. Articles were categorized by sex of first, last, and overall authorship. We examined changes in proportions of female first, last, and overall authorship over time, and analyzed the correlation between these measurements and journal impact factor.

There were 71,867 articles from 19 journals included. Sex was successfully predicted for 87.3% of authors (79.1%-92.5%). There were significant increases in the overall percentage of female authors (β = 0.55, P < 0.001), female first authors (β = 0.97, P < 0.001), and female last authors (β = 0.53, P < 0.001) over the study period. Notably, all cardiothoracic subspecialty journals did not significantly increase the proportion of female last authors over the study period. There were no correlations between journal impact factor and percentage of overall female authors (rs = 0.39, P = 0.09), female first authors (rs = 0.29, P = 0.22), or female last author (rs = 0.35, P = 0.13).

This study identifies continued but slow improvement in female authorship of high-impact surgical journals during the contemporary era. However, the improvement was more apparent in the first compared to senior author positions.

Assessment of Technical Skills in Axillary Lymph Node Dissection.

Annals of Surgery

A simulator to enable safe practice and assessment of ALND has been designed, and face, content and construct validity has been investigated.

The reduction in the number of ALNDs conducted has led to decreased resident exposure and confidence.

A cross-sectional multicenter observational study was carried out between July 2017 and August 2018. Following model development, 30 surgeons of varying experience (n = "experts,' n = 11 "senior residents,' and n = 10 "junior residents") were asked to perform a simulated ALND. Face and content validity questionnaires were administered immediately after ALND. All ALND procedures were retrospectively assessed by 2 attending breast surgeons, blinded to operator identity, using a video-based assessment tool, and an end product assessment tool.

Statistically significant differences between groups were observed across all operative subphases on the axillary clearance assessment tool (P < 0.001). Significant differences between groups were observed for overall procedure quality (P < 0.05) and total number of lymph nodes harvested (P < 0.001). However, operator grade could not be distinguished across other end product variables such as axillary vein damage (P = 0.864) and long thoracic nerve injury (P = 0.094). Overall, participants indicated that the simulator has good anatomical (median score >7) and procedural realism (median score >7).

Video-based analysis demonstrates construct validity for ALND assessment. Given reduced ALND exposure, this simulation is a useful adjunct for both technical skills training and formative Deanery or Faculty administered assessments.

Role of Prophylactic Cholecystectomy After Endoscopic Sphincterotomy for Biliary Stone Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Annals of Surgery

The aim of this study was to perform a structured systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the effectiveness and complication rate of cholecystectomy deferral versus prophylactic cholecystectomy among patients post-endoscopic biliary sphincterotomy for common bile duct stones.

Although previous reports suggest a decreased risk of biliary complications with prophylactic cholecystectomy, biliary endoscopic cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) with sphincterotomy may provide a role for deferring cholecystectomy with the gallbladder left in situ.

Searches of PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library databases were performed through August 2019 in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology guidelines. Measured outcomes included: mortality, recurrent biliary pain or cholecystitis, pancreatitis, cholangitis, and eventual need for cholecystectomy. Random effects models were used to determine pooled effect size and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Nine studies (n = 1605) were included. A total of 53.8% (n = 864) patients had deferred cholecystectomy post-sphincterotomy. Deferral cholecystectomy as compared to prophylactic cholecystectomy resulted in a significant increased risk of mortality [odds raio (OR) 2.56 (95% confidence interval, CI 1.54-4.23); P < 0.0001; I = 18.49]. Patients who did not undergo prophylactic cholecystectomy developed more recurrent biliary pain or cholecystitis [OR 5.10 (95% CI 3.39-7.67); P < 0.0001; I = 0.00]. Rate of pancreatitis [OR 3.11 (95% CI 0.99-9.83); P = 0.053; I = 0.00] and cholangitis [OR 1.49 (95% CI 0.74-2.98); P = 0.264; I = 0.00] was unaffected. Overall, 26.00% (95% CI 14.00-40.00) of patients with deferred prophylactic cholecystectomy required eventual cholecystectomy.

Prophylactic cholecystectomy remains the preferred strategy compared to a deferral approach with gallbladder in situ post-sphincterotomy for patients with bile duct stones. Future studies may highlight a subset of patients (ie, those with large balloon biliary dilation) that may not require cholecystectomy.

Single Versus Multiple Arterial Revascularization in Patients With Reduced Renal Function: Long-term Outcome Comparisons in 23,406 CABG Patients From Ontario, Canada.

Annals of Surgery

To compare the long-term outcomes of MAR versus SAR in patients with renal insufficiency.

Previous studies have been insufficiently powered to address whether MAR confers long-term benefit over SAR in patients with renal dysfunction who require CABG.

We conducted retrospective cohort study in Ontario, Canada of patients who underwent isolated CABG (n = 23,406). The primary outcome was MACE, defined as the composite of stroke, myocardial infarction, and repeat revascularization. We compared patients by matching them on the propensity to have received SAR versus MAR, within groups with preoperative glomerular filtration rate (GFR) ≥60 mL/min/1.73 m; GFR between 30 and 60; and GFR <30.

In patients with GFR ≥60, the use of MAR versus SAR was associated with a lower rate of MACE [hazard ratio (HR) 0.87 (0.80-0.94)], and a lower rate of long-term mortality [HR 0.87 (0.79-0.97)]. In those with GFR between 30 and 60, MAR was not associated with a difference in MACE [HR 1.04 (0.87-1.26)], and a lower rate of long-term mortality [HR 0.75 (0.65-0.87)] was observed. In those with GFR <30, MAR was not associated with a difference in outcomes.

MAR versus SAR does not correlate with a difference in MACE amongst patients with GFR between 30 and 60 and better survival raises the possibility of indication bias. Furthermore, MAR did not confer a benefit in those with severely reduced renal function. These data suggest that the potential long-term benefits of using MAR in CABG patients with renal insufficiency may be offset by competing health risks.

Comparing Clinician Consensus Recommendations to Patient-reported Opioid Use Across Multiple Hospital Systems.

Annals of Surgery

We compare consensus recommendations for 5 surgical procedures to prospectively collected patient consumption data. To address local variation, we combined data from multiple hospitals across the country.

One approach to address the opioid epidemic has been to create prescribing consensus reports for common surgical procedures. However, it is unclear how these guidelines compare to patient-reported data from multiple hospital systems.

Prospective observational studies of surgery patients were completed between 3/2017 and 12/2018. Data were collected utilizing post-discharge surveys and chart reviews from 5 hospitals (representing 3 hospital systems) in 5 states across the USA. Prescribing recommendations for 5 common surgical procedures identified in 2 recent consensus reports were compared to the prospectively collected aggregated data. Surgeries included: laparoscopic cholecystectomy, open inguinal hernia repair, laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair, partial mastectomy without sentinel lymph node biopsy, and partial mastectomy with sentinel lymph node biopsy.

Eight hundred forty-seven opioid-naïve patients who underwent 1 of the 5 studied procedures reported counts of unused opioid pills after discharge. Forty-one percent did not take any opioid medications, and across all surgeries, the median consumption was 3 5 mg oxycodone pills or less. Generally, consensus reports recommended opioid quantities that were greater than the 75th percentile of consumption, and for 2 procedures, recommendations exceeded the 90th percentile of consumption.

Although consensus recommendations were an important first step to address opioid prescribing, our data suggests that following these recommendations would result in 47%-56% of pills prescribed remaining unused. Future multi-institutional efforts should be directed toward refining and personalizing prescribing recommendations.