The Critical Portions of Carpal Tunnel Surgery: A Comparison Between Opinions of Surgeons and the General Public.
PURPOSE: Attending surgeons must participate in critical and key portions of procedures and otherwise be immediately available. However, surgeon-defined standards of the critical and key portions of surgery have been questioned, potentially affecting trainee graduated responsibility. This study compares the opinions of surgeons and the general public regarding what constitutes the critical portions of carpal tunnel release (CTR). METHODS: A survey was devised inquiring about the appropriateness of surgical trainee execution of each step of CTR. Surgeons who perform CTR were queried (n = 112) and 32 (29%) responded. The survey was modified to compare responses from a sample of 184 nonmedical respondents (NMRs). The NMRs were excluded if they indicated having a career in health care. RESULTS: Of the surgeon respondents, 94% (n = 30) had completed hand fellowship training, 53% (n = 17) declared themselves academic or affiliated with academia, and 53% (n = 17) utilized concurrent operating rooms. The NMR average age was 35.3 ± 10.3 years, 40% were female (n = 73), and they represented various regions of the United States including an assortment of socioeconomic and ethnic groups. Surgeons demonstrated significantly more hesitation with trainees performing surgical steps. Academic surgeons were significantly more comfortable having trainees performing surgical steps than nonacademic surgeons. Critical portions of CTR as agreed upon by surgeons and NMRs included incision, dissection, transverse carpal ligament division, and inspection of the median nerve for injury/complete release. CONCLUSIONS: Surgeons are significantly less comfortable with trainee performance of CTR steps than the general public. Surgeons who regularly work with trainees are more accepting of trainee involvement than those who do not. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Understanding the opinions of surgeons as well as NMRs with respect to surgical trainee participation in the operating room is important to optimize the informed consent process as well as influence hospital policies that affect graduated surgical trainee autonomy.
Pidgeon, TS; Lauder, AS; Tong, BC; Green, CL; Risoli, T; Richard, MJ; Mithani, SK
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