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Despite improvements to surgical procedures, colon surgery still carries highest risk

Despite improvements to surgical procedures, colon surgery still carries highest risk

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GALVESTON, Texas – A large nationwide study led by The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has confirmed that among various surgical procedures, removing sections of the colon carries the highest risk of complications and has a 46 percent mortality rate, despite efforts to improve surgical outcomes at large. Shining light on this issue can guide advances and improvements targeted directly toward this procedure. The findings are currently available in The American Journal of Surgery.

The American College of Surgeons works to improve the quality of surgeries throughout the U.S. and collects information on how well people recover as well as rates of complications, post-surgical hospital readmissions and surgery-related deaths. This study is the first to use the ACS data to identify advances in how well patients recover from surgery and opportunities for improvement.

The researchers compared the 2015 data from 885,502 surgical cases from 603 hospitals with the data from 2008. Of the 36 surgery procedures studied, 80 percent of complications were associated with 10 procedures.

They found that in both 2008 and 2015, colon resection, which is removal of a portion of the intestine, had the highest rates of issues despite the technical advances and enhanced recovery protocols made since 2008. Of the colon resection cases analyzed, 34 percent of patients had complications, 27 percent of patients needed to be readmitted to the hospital after going home to recover and had a mortality rate of 46 percent.

“It’s important that we’ve confirmed that colon resection has room for improvement,” said lead author Dr. Byron D. Hughes, UTMB resident in general surgery. “These data provide a valuable roadmap to target specific efforts to improve the results of this procedure.”

Other authors include UTMB’s Dr. Hemalkumar Mehta as well as Dr. Eric Sieloff and senior author Dr. Anthony Senagore from Western Michigan University.

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