-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- There's no proof to support
the widely held belief that July is the worst time of year to have
spinal surgery, according to a new study.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., looked at
whether there was any evidence of the so-called "July Effect,"
which is the notion that the arrival of new residents and fellows
at teaching hospitals each July makes it the worst time of year to
be a patient.
The investigators examined data on nearly 1 million patients who
had spinal surgery from 2001 to 2008 and found that the month in
which they had surgery had little effect on their outcomes.
Incidents of all negative outcomes studied were slightly higher
in teaching hospitals than in non-teaching hospitals. In the
teaching hospitals, there were minimally higher rates of infection
after surgery, and patient discharge to a long-term care facility
in July compared with other months.
These rates were not high enough, however, to establish a "July
Effect," the researchers said.
Rates of in-hospital deaths and complications after surgery did
not differ according to the month that patients were admitted to
hospital, according to the study, which was published online Jan.
29 in the
Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine.
"We hope that our findings will reassure patients that they are not at higher risk of medical complications if they undergo spinal surgery during July as compared to other times of the year," study co-author Jennifer McDonald said in a Mayo news release. "While we only looked at spinal surgeries, we think it's likely we'd find similar outcomes among other surgeries and procedures."
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons outlines how
patients can prepare for and recover from
lower back surgery.
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