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Pediatric inguinal and scrotal surgery — Practice patterns in U.S. academic centers

Purpose

Both pediatric urologists and pediatric surgeons perform hernia repairs, hydrocelectomies and orchiopexies. We hypothesized that surgeons perform more incarcerated and female hernia repairs while urologists perform more orchiopexies and hydrocelectomies.

Methods

The Vizient-AAMC Faculty Practice Solutions Center® database was queried from January 2009 to December 2014 to identify patients 10 years or younger who underwent the above procedures performed by pediatric specialists. Age, gender, race, insurance, geographic region and surgeon volume were examined.

Results

In the study 55,893 surgeries were identified: 26,073 primary hernia repairs, 462 recurrent hernia repairs, 3399 laparoscopic hernia repairs, 9414 hydrocele repairs and 16,545 orchiopexies. Pediatric surgeons performed 89% of primary hernia repairs with an annual median surgeon volume of 4 cases/year. Pediatric urologists performed 62% of hydrocelectomies and 83% of orchiopexies with annual median surgeon volumes of 6 and 24, respectively. Pediatric surgeons performed all procedures in younger patients and performed more female and incarcerated hernia repairs.

Conclusions

Pediatric surgeons operate on younger patients and treat more patients with inguinal hernias while pediatric urologists care for more boys with undescended testes and hydroceles. This knowledge of referral patterns and care between specialties with overlapping expertise will allow improvements in training and access.

Levels of evidence

Cost Effectiveness Study, Level of Evidence III.

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