Shorter Post-Operative Recovery Stay

Making children and outpatient
surgery centres happy

The study found no increased complications with an average discharge time of 1 hour and 47 minutes, which was significantly less time than prior studies, which showed that patients should remain at least 2 hours and 18 minutes.

"With increasing healthcare costs and pressures to perform outpatient surgeries in a more efficient, yet safe, fashion this study lends support to potential safety of shorter and more cost-effective stays," said the study's author, Dr. Nina Shapiro, associate professor of pediatric otolaryngology at Mattel Children's Hospital at University of California - Los Angeles.

In the first study of its kind to look at a very large patient population, researchers reviewed the records of almost 800 pediatric patients that spanned a period of more than seven and a half years. "After analyzing so many records, the biggest surprise was the lack of complications in patients who were discharged after a shorter recovery period," added Shapiro. "This is especially good news for parents and children who want to go home as soon as possible after surgery."

Patients remain in recovery after tonsillectomy so that medical staff can monitor the child after emerging from anaesthesia, to allow for the child to wake up to their pre-surgical condition and to monitor for any signs of adverse reaction to general anaesthesia or other unexpected problems. Patients are typically cleared for discharge once they are alert, their vital signs are stable and they have fully woken up from the anaesthesia.

"However, despite this encouraging data, we must remember to evaluate each child individually in the early post-operative period, and be prepared to monitor those children who require longer observation times," Shapiro said. Approximately 500,000 tonsillectomies are performed on children each year, making it the second-most common childhood surgery performed in the United States.; Source: University of California - Los Angeles