Of course, surgeries are sometimes done at unexpected times to address emergencies. But, whenever possible, you should schedule surgery so that you have adequate time to prepare – and so that you can have the surgery at an optimal time. Here’s why this is so important.
Research conducted through the University of Michigan Health System and recently published in the journal Neurosurgery evaluated nearly 16,000 patients who underwent neurosurgical procedures between the years 2007 and 2014. In these procedures, 785 complications were reported by the neurosurgeons.
The researchers evaluated the procedures to see if they could find any patterns in when the complications arose, and they found something startling: procedures that began between 9:00 pm and 7:00 am were 50%+ more likely to involve complications than procedures that began earlier in the day. In fact, the later the surgery began, the more likely it was to involve a complication. And emergency and elective surgeries were equally likely to involve complications – the only difference was the complications tended to be more severe in emergency situations.
It’s not surprising that such complications are occurring. Surgeons are people too, and working outside normal business hours is taxing. So if you need surgery, it’s definitely worth scheduling it for early in the day, when the doctor is fresh and rested. Just make sure you confirm you’re not actually scheduling the last time slot of a night shift.
What should you do if you have an emergency? The researchers plan to investigate whether it’s worthwhile to simply stabilize patients if emergencies occur at non-ideal times and put off the surgery until daylight hours. This option may be worth discussing with your doctor if you do have an emergency.