Is Hospitalization Necessary after Ear Surgery? A National Survey and Retrospective Review of Postoperative Events

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ObjectiveFirst, to survey our national otolaryngology colleagues on their postoperative care habits (hospitalization vs day surgery) after elective middle ear surgery. Second, to evaluate the necessity of hospitalization and safety of day surgery after these procedures.MethodsA national survey regarding postoperative habits after elective middle ear surgery was launched. Then, the cases of all patients having undergone these surgical procedures at our center between 2010 and 2016 were reviewed. They were divided into 2 groups: hospitalization and day surgery. Postoperative events during hospitalization and rate of consultation/readmission for day surgery were recorded.ResultsHeterogeneity in postoperative habits for most elective otologic surgery exists among otolaryngologists. For tympanoplasty, however, day surgery was uniformly favored. At our institution, 88.6% of hospitalization patients had no complications during their stay. Complications noted for others were nausea (7.2%), bleeding (3.1%), hematoma (0.5%), and sensorineural hearing loss (0.5%). In the day surgery group, 3.0% consulted within 48 hours following their procedure, and the readmission rate was 1.3%. Nausea was the only cause for readmission, and stapes surgery accounted for 100% of readmissions.DiscussionMost elective middle ear surgery can be safely performed as day care. Hospitalization does not provide care that could not have been provided at home in the majority of cases. Overnight hospital stay may be considered for stapes surgery.Implications for PracticeDay surgery for elective middle ear surgery is sufficient for most cases. Transferring these cases to day care should lower costs to our health care system and increase bed availability.

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