Scientific article
Open access

Impact of Team Familiarity in the Operating Room on Surgical Complications

Published inWorld Journal of Surgery, vol. 38, no. 12, p. 3047-3052
Publication date2014

BACKGROUND: The quality of surgical performance depends on the technical skills of the surgical team as well as on non-technical skills, including teamwork. The present study evaluated the impact of familiarity among members of the surgical team on morbidity in patients undergoing elective open abdominal surgery. METHODS: A retrospective analysis was performed to compare the surgical outcomes of patients who underwent major abdominal operations between the first month (period I) and the last month (period II) of a 6-month period of continuous teamwork (stable dyads of one senior and one junior surgeon formed every 6 months). Of 117 patients, 59 and 58 patients underwent operations during period I and period II, respectively, between January 2010 and June 2012. Team performance was assessed via questionnaire by specialized work psychologists; in addition, intraoperative sound levels were measured. RESULTS: The incidence of overall complications was significantly higher in period I than in period II (54.2 vs. 34.5 %; P = 0.041). Postoperative complications grade <3 were significantly more frequently diagnosed in patients who had operations during period I (39.0 vs. 15.5 %; P = 0.007), whereas no between-group differences in grade ≥3 complications were found (15.3 vs. 19.0 %; P = 0.807). Concentration scores from senior surgeons were significantly higher in period II than in period I (P = 0.033). Sound levels during the middle third part of the operations were significantly higher in period I (median above the baseline 8.85 dB [range 4.5-11.3 dB] vs. 7.17 dB [5.24-9.43 dB]; P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Team familiarity improves team performance and reduces morbidity in patients undergoing abdominal surgery.

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Citation (ISO format)
KURMANN, A. et al. Impact of Team Familiarity in the Operating Room on Surgical Complications. In: World Journal of Surgery, 2014, vol. 38, n° 12, p. 3047–3052. doi: 10.1007/s00268-014-2680-2
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0364-2313

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