Gender Disparities in Preoperative Resource Use for Wrist Arthroscopy

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Abstract

Background:

Although national efforts to minimize gender biases exist, gender differences in surgery persist. This study aims to investigate gender differences in preoperative resource use of patients undergoing wrist arthroscopy for nontraumatic wrist pain.

Methods:

Patients who underwent a wrist arthroscopy for nontraumatic pain from 2009 to 2015 were selected from the Truven MarketScan databases. Demographic and preoperative resource use data were recorded. Multivariable regression models were performed to examine the relationship between gender and preoperative resource use and to investigate the cost of these services.

Results:

A total of 8792 patients, 3805 men and 4987 women, met our inclusion criteria. Women were less likely to use imaging modalities preoperatively (OR, 0.08; 95 percent CI, 0.07 to 1.00; p = 0.02). However, women used more occupational therapy (OR, 1.2; 95 percent CI, 1.1 to 1.3; p = 0.002), nonnarcotic analgesia (OR, 1.2; 95 percent CI, 1.1 to 1.3; p = 0.001), and narcotic analgesia (OR, 1.6; 95 percent CI, 1.5 to 1.8; p < 0.001). Preoperative costs during the 12 months before surgery were similar between genders ($1308 versus $1367, respectively; p = 0.07). However, women accrued more costs from occupational therapy ($130 versus $93; p = 0.003), and nonnarcotic ($65 versus $46; p < 0.001) and narcotic medications ($568 versus $197; p < 0.001).

Conclusions:

Significant gender differences exist in the preoperative care for patients undergoing wrist arthroscopy. Men use more imaging, implying more intense preoperative investigation for wrist pain, whereas women use more conservative measures, highlighting possible implicit provider biases in preoperative management and potential gender differences in disease presentation.

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