Orthopedics

Guest Editorial 

Arthroscopy Complications: Can We Do Better?

Darren L. Johnson, MD

  • Orthopedics. 2010;33(7)
  • Posted July 1, 2010

Abstract

Darren L. Johnson, MD
Darren L. Johnson

In June, the Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA) kicked off its knee and shoulder arthroscopy complications study. The study is web based and easy for all to participate in.

The goal of this study is to collect data on 150,000 consecutive knee and shoulder arthroscopic surgeries (estimated to be 10%-20% of all arthroscopic surgeries performed yearly) over a 6-month period and determine complication rates and associated factors. With the trend of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services refusing to pay for what they consider “never events,” such as postoperative infection and thromboembolic disease, it is essential to document the actual incidence of these and other complications commonly seen in arthroscopy to determine accurate numbers and a benchmark for surgeons to assess their own practices.

Data will be input into a secure web-based portal by practicing orthopedic surgeons every 2 weeks for 6 months. Any board-eligible or board-certified surgeon performing 10 knee and/or shoulder arthroscopic surgeries monthly are eligible to submit data. This important study is generously supported by the Arthroscopy Association of North America Education Foundation.

Although surgeons don’t like to write or talk about complications in their patients, particularly as it relates to final outcome, it is imperative to do this in a more open manner amongst ourselves. Health care policy decisions and payment for services are changing annually. Our patients are dependent on us, as surgeons, to document the outcomes of invasive surgical procedures and their associated risks and benefits. While many of us believe that arthroscopy is a minor, noninvasive procedure, we are all aware of complications that occur annually in a busy surgical practice. Our ability to learn from them and do everything possible to prevent them is dependent on our honesty and truthfulness in sharing that data.

I strongly encourage all surgeons who have the practice profile to participate in this landmark study to visit the Arthroscopy Association of North America Web site and enroll. We as a profession will benefit for years to come by the data entered. In sharing this knowledge with others from around the country, we will be preventing complications through the lessons learned from this study.

Dr Johnson is from the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Kentucky School of Medicine, Lexington, Kentucky.

Dr Johnson has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

doi: 10.3928/01477447-20100526-02 …

Darren L. Johnson, MD
Darren L. Johnson

In June, the Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA) kicked off its knee and shoulder arthroscopy complications study. The study is web based and easy for all to participate in.

The goal of this study is to collect data on 150,000 consecutive knee and shoulder arthroscopic surgeries (estimated to be 10%-20% of all arthroscopic surgeries performed yearly) over a 6-month period and determine complication rates and associated factors. With the trend of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services refusing to pay for what they consider “never events,” such as postoperative infection and thromboembolic disease, it is essential to document the actual incidence of these and other complications commonly seen in arthroscopy to determine accurate numbers and a benchmark for surgeons to assess their own practices.

Data will be input into a secure web-based portal by practicing orthopedic surgeons every 2 weeks for 6 months. Any board-eligible or board-certified surgeon performing 10 knee and/or shoulder arthroscopic surgeries monthly are eligible to submit data. This important study is generously supported by the Arthroscopy Association of North America Education Foundation.

Although surgeons don’t like to write or talk about complications in their patients, particularly as it relates to final outcome, it is imperative to do this in a more open manner amongst ourselves. Health care policy decisions and payment for services are changing annually. Our patients are dependent on us, as surgeons, to document the outcomes of invasive surgical procedures and their associated risks and benefits. While many of us believe that arthroscopy is a minor, noninvasive procedure, we are all aware of complications that occur annually in a busy surgical practice. Our ability to learn from them and do everything possible to prevent them is dependent on our honesty and truthfulness in sharing that data.

I strongly encourage all surgeons who have the practice profile to participate in this landmark study to visit the Arthroscopy Association of North America Web site and enroll. We as a profession will benefit for years to come by the data entered. In sharing this knowledge with others from around the country, we will be preventing complications through the lessons learned from this study.

Author

Dr Johnson is from the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Kentucky School of Medicine, Lexington, Kentucky.

Dr Johnson has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

doi: 10.3928/01477447-20100526-02

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