To review the clinical characteristics of patients who had a short hospital stay (<24 hours) following neck dissection, and to assess the incidence and type of complications in this patient group.
University-based academic medical center.
All patients who underwent neck dissection at our institution from July 2004 through June 2008 and were discharged within 24 hours postoperatively (short stay) were included.
Main Outcome Measures
Patient demographics, cancer site and type, and details of the procedures performed were quantified. In addition, medical records were reviewed for complications requiring readmission within 30 days postoperatively.
Review of a prospectively maintained surgical database identified 122 consecutive neck dissections performed at our institution from July 1, 2004, to June 30, 2008. Of these 122 procedures, 71 involved a subsequent postoperative stay of less than 24 hours. These 71 procedures were performed in 69 patients; they had a mean age of 59 years and a sex distribution that was 33% female and 67% male. Neck dissection alone was performed in 22 of the 71 short-stay cases (31%). The most commonly performed concurrent procedures included limited oral cavity or oropharyngeal resections (21 patients) and parotidectomy (13 patients). Modified radical neck dissection was performed in 22 of the 71 cases (31%); the remaining procedures were selective neck dissections. Cranial nerve XI, the internal jugular vein, and the sternocleidomastoid muscle were all preserved in 57 cases (80%). Of the 71 short-stay cases, only 2 (3%) required readmission for a surgical complication within 30 days of their procedure.
In carefully selected patients, discharge within 24 hours following neck dissection seems to be safe and appropriate. Given the potential for substantial cost savings, short stay should be studied further in this patient population.