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Interspecialty Variation in Perioperative Health Care Resource Usage for Carpal Tunnel Release.

BACKGROUND: We investigated whether any interspecialty variation exists, regarding perioperative health care resource usage, in carpal tunnel releases (CTRs).

METHODS: The 2010 to 2021 PearlDiver Mariner Database, an all-payer claims database, was queried to identify patients undergoing primary CTRs. Physician specialty IDs were used to identify the specialty of the surgeon-orthopedic versus plastic versus general surgery versus neurosurgery. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify whether there was any interspecialty variation between the use of health care resources.

RESULTS: A total of 908 671 patients undergoing CTRs were included, of which 556 339 (61.2%) were by orthopedic surgeons, 297 047 (32.7%) by plastic surgeons, 44 118 (4.9%) by neurosurgeons, and 11 257 (1.2%) by general surgeons. In comparison with orthopedic surgeons, patients treated by plastic surgeons were less likely to have received opioids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, oral steroids, and preoperative antibiotic prophylaxis but were more likely to have received steroid injections and electrodiagnostic studies (EDSs) preoperatively. Patients treated by neurosurgeons were more likely to have received preoperative opioids, gabapentin, oral steroids, preoperative antibiotic prophylaxis, EDSs, and formal preoperative physical/occupational therapy and less likely to have received steroid injections. Patients treated by general surgeons were less likely to receive oral steroids, steroid injections, EDSs, preoperative formal physical therapy, and preoperative antibiotic prophylaxis, but were more likely to be prescribed gabapentin.

CONCLUSIONS: There exists significant variation in perioperative health care resource usage for CTRs between specialties. Understanding reasons behind such variation would be paramount in minimizing differences in how care is practiced for elective hand procedures.

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