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Original Investigation
April 2016

Development and Feasibility of a Specialty-Specific National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP)The Head and Neck–Reconstructive Surgery NSQIP

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Head and Neck Surgery, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
  • 2Department of Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
  • 3Office of Performance Improvement, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
  • 4Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2016;142(4):321-327. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2015.3608
Abstract

Importance  The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) serves the need for continual quality assessment in general surgery. Previously, no parallel mechanism specific to head and neck oncologic surgery existed.

Objective  To address the need for continual quality assessment in subspecialty surgery by adapting the ACS NSQIP platform for complex head and neck oncologic surgical procedures.

Design, Setting, and Participants  With an institutional ACS NSQIP team’s guidance, surgeons from the departments of head and neck surgery and plastic and reconstructive surgery developed disease- and procedure-specific preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative variables specific to head and neck surgery requiring reconstruction. Collection occurred with 100% sampling and standard ACS NSQIP 30-day follow-up. After a pilot period, long-term functional outcomes were added to this platform. A total of 312 patients underwent head and neck surgery requiring reconstruction at an academic medical center between August 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013.

Exposures  Development of a specialty-specific head and neck surgery ACS NSQIP platform.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The feasibility of adapting the ACS NSQIP platform to capture complex head and neck surgery metrics in all patients.

Results  Head and neck surgery–specific preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative variables were added to the ACS NSQIP platform and evaluated in 312 patients (201 [64.4%] male). Only 42 patients (13.5%) had no preoperative risk factors, and 136 (43.6%) had 3 or more risk factors. The mean (SD) duration of operation was 9.4 (3.0) hours (range, 1.7-19.3 hours). The mean (SD) postoperative length of stay was 7.9 (4.7) days (range, 1-40 days), 58 patients (18.6%) had an unplanned return to the operating room, 23 patients (7.4%) were readmitted within 30 days, and 3 patients (1.0%) died within 30 days. More than half of the patients (160 [51.3%]) did not experience a postoperative occurrence.

Conclusions and Relevance  To our knowledge, this is the first comprehensive complex oncologic surgery outcomes platform derived from ACS NSQIP methods. The initial pilot demonstrates the ability to systematically capture head and neck surgery–specific variables with complete sampling. With multi-institutional expansion, increased accrual, and long-term patient-reported outcomes, we hope to set risk-adjusted benchmarks that may underpin quality improvement efforts in complex head and neck surgery.

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