Are Kids More Than Just Little Adults? A Comparison of Surgical Outcomes

Jessica Liu McMullin*, Q. Lina Hu, Ryan P. Merkow, Karl Y. Bilimoria, Yue Yung Hu, Clifford Y. Ko, Fizan Abdullah, Mehul V. Raval

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: While complication rates have been well described using the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) and National Surgical Quality Improvement Program–Pediatric registries, there have been no direct comparisons of outcomes between adults and children. Our objective was to describe differences in postoperative outcomes between children and adults undergoing common surgical procedures. Methods: Using data from 2013 to 2017, we identified patients undergoing laparoscopic appendectomy, laparoscopic cholecystectomy, thyroidectomy, and colectomy. Propensity score matching on gender, race, American Society of Anesthesiologists class, surgical indication, and procedure type was performed. Outcomes included surgical site infection (SSI), readmission rates, mortality/serious morbidity, and hospital length of stay and were analyzed using χ2 and student's t-test with statistical significance defined as P < 0.05. Results: We matched 79,866 patients from 812 hospitals. Compared to adults, children had higher rates of SSI following appendectomy (4.12% versus 1.40%, P < 0.01) and cholecystectomy (0.96% versus 0.66%, P = 0.04), readmission following appendectomy (4.26% versus 2.47%, P < 0.01), and longer length of stay in all procedures. In adults, 30-day mortality/serious morbidity was higher for all procedures. Conclusions: Compared to adults, children demonstrate unique surgical complication and outcome profiles. Quality improvement efforts such as SSI prevention bundles and enhanced recovery protocols used in adults should be expanded to children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)586-591
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Enhanced recovery
  • Outcomes
  • Pediatric surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Are Kids More Than Just Little Adults? A Comparison of Surgical Outcomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this