Fifteen years of adrenalectomies: impact of specialty training and operative volume
Previous associations between surgeon volume with adrenalectomy outcomes examined only a sample of procedures. We performed an analysis of all adrenalectomies performed in New York state to assess the effect of surgeon volume and specialty on clinical outcomes.Methods.
Adrenalectomies performed in adults were identified from the New York Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System from 2000–2014. Surgeon specialty, volume, and patient demographics were assessed. High volume was defined using a significance threshold at ≥4 adrenalectomies per year. Outcome variables included in-hospital mortality, duration of stay, and in-hospital complications.Results.
A total of 6,054 adrenalectomies were included. Median patient age was 56 years; 41.9% were men and 68.3% were white. Urologists (n = 462) performed 46.8% of adrenalectomies, general surgeons (n = 599) performed 35.0%, and endocrine surgeons (n = 23) performed 18.1%. Significantly more endocrine surgeons were high-volume compared with urologists and general surgeons (65.2% vs 10.2% and 6.7%, respectively, P < .001). High-volume surgeons had significantly lower mortality compared with low-volume surgeons (0.56% vs 1.25%, P = .004) and a lower rate of complications (10.2% vs 16.4%, P = < .001). Endocrine surgeons were more likely to perform laparoscopic procedures (34.8% vs 22.4% general surgeons and 27.7% US, P < .001) and had the lowest median hospital duration of stay (2 days vs 4 days general surgeons and 3 days urologists, P < .001). After risk adjustment, low surgeon volume was an independent predictor of inpatient complications (odds ratio = 0.96, P = .002).Conclusion.
Patients with adrenal disease should be referred to surgeons based on adrenalectomy volume regardless of specialty, but most endocrine surgeons that perform adrenalectomy are high-volume for the procedure.