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01.12.2014 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

Patient Safety in Surgery 1/2014

A survey of surgeons’ perception and awareness of intraoperative time utilization

Patient Safety in Surgery > Ausgabe 1/2014
Sofia Erestam, Annette Erichsen, Kristoffer Derwinger, Karl Kodeda
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1754-9493-8-30) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contribution

Research design: All authors. Acquisition of data: SE. Analysis and interpretation of data: All authors. Drafting the paper: SE, KK. Revising the paper critically: All authors. Approving the submitted version: All authors.



Surgical teams’ awareness of the time needed to perform specific phases of a surgical procedure is likely to improve communication in the operating theatre and benefit patient safety. The aim of this study was to assess surgeons’ awareness of time utilization and the actual time needed to perform specific phases of an operation.


A survey was conducted to examine the method and design for a larger study. Interviews were conducted with 18 surgeons, and surgical time was measured during 21 colon cancer resections. Correlation analyses were performed to explore the factors that might affect operating time.


The surgical phase with the greatest variation in time was dissection/resection (43–308 minutes). On a group level, no statistically significant differences were found between estimated and measured surgical procedural times for partial or full resections (160.4 versus 173.0 minutes, p = 0.539). However, interindividual variation was substantial. There was a positive significant correlation between long duration of dissection/resection and longer time to close the abdomen (r = 0.464, p = 0.039), as well as between long duration of a hand-sewn anastomosis and time needed to close the abdomen (r = 0.536, p = 0.018).


It can be difficult for a single surgeon to estimate the time required for a partial or full surgical procedure. A larger study might provide additional time estimates and identify variables that affect surgical time. The data could be of interest in the planning and scheduling of surgical resources, thus improving theatre team communication and patient safety.
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