If you're going to have surgery, is there a best time during the day to have it? According to new research, there is - and it can make all the difference to the success of the procedure and your recovery time afterwards.
People who have surgery in the morning tend to fare better than those whose operation happens during 'after hours' between 4pm and 6am.
A study of 203 patients who underwent orthopaedic surgery found that 27 per cent of 'after hours' patients had a metal instrument or some surgical object left inside them, and so needed further surgery to remove it, while this happened to just 3 per cent of patients who had their surgery between 6am and 4pm. The 'after hours' group also suffered more unplanned follow-up operations that were needed to remedy other problems with the first procedure.
"Although everyone wants to be treated immediately, it may be in a patient's best interest to wait until morning. The reality is that the on-call night surgical team may not be well rested as it is likely they had just finished a normal day shift," said lead researcher William Ricci from the Washington University School of Medicine.
(Source: Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 2009; 91: 2067-72).