Having Surgery? You Might Want to Wait Until Morning
Posted Sep 09 2009 10:06pm
We are a country of “I want it now” consumers. Letters aren’t fast enough so we email. Email isn’t fast enough so we text. Movies are instantly delivered to our televisions, foods are instantly processed in our microwaves and when we are sick we want instant relief.
The problem is that our instant gratification of wants and needs may get us into trouble when it comes to medical procedures such as surgery. In fact a recent study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery indicated that it might be safer to wait until morning before succumbing to the “knife.”
Researchers studied patients with bone fractures who received surgical repairs that included installing rods. The patients were divided into daytime and nighttime groups and were tracked after their surgeries. Both groups experienced similar healing times but there was a significant difference in outcomes.
For example the nighttime group experienced longer operations and a more frequent removal of the hardware (27% versus 3%). They also experienced more follow-ups. The researchers concluded that at least with orthopedic procedures it would be better for many patients to wait until morning to have surgery. Of course this would not apply to emergency surgery.