Complications After Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery: A Review of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery Database

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Introduction:Shoulder arthroscopies are among the most frequently performed surgeries by orthopaedic surgeons. Little is known about complication rates among recently trained surgeons. The purpose of this study was to examine the type and frequency of complications of common arthroscopic shoulder procedures performed by candidates challenging the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery: Part II, certification examination.Methods:Data were obtained from the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery database for orthopaedic surgeons who sat for the part II examination from 2012 to 2016. In total, 27,072 procedures were reviewed. The database was queried to determine the type and frequency of complications for patients who underwent shoulder arthroscopy, including arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, labrum repair, biceps tenodesis, and bony/soft tissue débridement procedures. Complications were classified as surgical, anesthetic, or medical. Factors affecting complication rates were investigated including surgeon's fellowship training, geographic location, and patients’ age and sex.Results:Patients with surgical complications (n = 2,133; 7.9%) were more common than anesthetic (n = 263; 1.0%) or medical (n = 607; 2.2%) complications. There was a significant variation in the surgical complication rate among different arthroscopic shoulder procedures, ranging from 5.4% for labral repair to 10.3% for rotator cuff repair and biceps tenodesis. Stiffness/arthrofibrosis was the most commonly recorded surgical complication (2.2%). Surgical complication rates were lowest in the Northeast region (6.7%; P < 0.01) and in patients younger than 21 years (3.8%; P < 0.01). Women had significantly higher rate of complications than men (8.4% versus 7.6%; P = 0.02). Among anesthetic-related complications, 61.6% were related to regional nerve blocks. The overall revision surgery and readmission rates were 0.8% and 1.0%, respectively.Conclusion:The overall self-reported surgical complication rate for arthroscopic shoulder procedures was 7.9%, which is higher than the rates reported in the literature. Although the rate of anesthetic complications is low (1.0%), adverse events related to nerve blocks made up most of the overall anesthetic related complications.

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