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Specialization Can Improve Outcomes After Surgery

Last Updated: January 18, 2010.

Patients who undergo emergency colorectal surgery have better outcomes if the surgeon is specialized in colorectal surgery, according to a study in the January issue of the Archives of Surgery.

MONDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who undergo emergency colorectal surgery have better outcomes if the surgeon is specialized in colorectal surgery, according to a study in the January issue of the Archives of Surgery.

Sebastiano Biondo, M.D., and colleagues from the University of Barcelona in Spain compared outcomes in 1,046 patients who underwent emergency colorectal resection by either a colorectal surgeon (368 patients) or a general surgeon (678 patients).

The researchers found that patients operated on by a colorectal surgeon had significantly lower postoperative morbidity (52.2 versus 60.5 percent), significantly less anastomotic dehiscence (6.2 versus 12.1 percent), and significantly lower postoperative mortality (17.9 versus 28.3 percent). After adjusting for possible confounding factors, being operated on by a colorectal surgeon was predictive of all three outcomes.

"In conclusion, this study shows that specialization in colorectal surgery improves mortality, morbidity, and anastomotic dehiscence rates after colorectal emergencies," Biondo and colleagues write. "Also, it raises the percentage of single-stage procedures."

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