Is Craniosynostosis Repair Keeping Up with the Times? Results from the Largest National Survey on Craniosynostosis
Michael Alperovich, MD, Raj M. Vyas, MD, David A. Staffenberg, MD.
New York University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.
Purpose: Given the great variability in perioperative management of craniosynostosis, a large-scale national survey of current practice patterns was conducted.
Methods: Using scaphocephaly as a test diagnosis, 115 craniofacial surgeons at all levels of career experience across the United States were invited to participate in an anonymous survey.
Results: 53 surgeons (46%) completed the survey. All respondents complete repair before 1 year of age with a majority operating between 4-8 months. Surgeons with greater than 10 years of experience were significantly more likely to perform open repair at extremes of age (<4 months and 8-12 months) (p=0.03) and reported shorter operative times (p=0.01) compared to their less experienced colleagues. More than two-thirds of surgeons (68.8%) obtain pre-operative imaging for every case; 83% of these prefer CT scans. Over a fourth of respondents (28%) routinely prescribe an extended course (>24 hours) of antibiotics. Overall transfusion rates remain high, with nearly two in three (65.2%) transfusing in 76-100% of operations. The overwhelming majority of respondents (93.6%) routinely send patients to an intensive care unit (ICU) post-operatively.
Conclusions: We present the largest United States survey of craniosynostosis surgical practice patterns to date. General consensus exists regarding safety and emergency preparedness standards. Additionally we identified several patterns that deviate from published evidence-based guidelines. Specifically, these practices relate to the routine use of high-dose radiation imaging, long-term antibiotics, blood transfusions, and intensive postoperative surveillance. For the first time, stratifying by surgeon experience revealed significant differences in clinical practice.
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