Defining the association between operative time and outcomes in children's surgery

Heather L. Short, Helene B. Fevrier, Jonathan A. Meisel, Matthew T. Santore, Kurt F. Heiss, Mark L. Wulkan, Mehul V. Raval*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Introduction Prolonged operative time (OT) is considered a reflection of procedural complexity and may be associated with poor outcomes. Our purpose was to explore the association between prolonged OT and complications in children's surgery. Methods 182,857 cases from the 2012–2014 NSQIP-Pediatric were organized into 33 groups. OT for each group was analyzed by quartile, and regression models were used to determine the relationship between prolonged OT and complications. Results Variations in OT existed for both short and long procedures. Cases in the longest quartile had twice the odds of postoperative complications after adjusting for age, sex and BMI (OR 1.85; 95% CI 1.78–1.91). Procedure-specific prolonged OT was associated with postoperative complications for the majority (85%) of procedural groupings. Prolonged OT was associated with minor complications in gynecologic (OR 4.17; 95% CI 2.19–7.96), urologic (OR 2.88; 95% CI 2.40–3.44), and appendix procedures (OR 2.88; 95% CI 2.49–3.34). There were increased odds of major complications in foregut (OR 6.56; 95% CI 4.99–8.64), gynecologic (OR 3.07; 95% CI 1.84–5.13), and spine procedures (OR 2.99; 95% CI 2.57–3.28). Conclusions Prolonged OT is associated with increased odds of postoperative complications across a spectrum of children's surgical procedures. Factors contributing to prolonged OT merit further investigation and may serve as a target for future quality improvement. Level of evidence Level III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1561-1566
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Complications
  • Operative time
  • Pediatric surgery
  • Quality improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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