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To study the impact of a clinical care pathway and computerised order set on short-term post-operative outcomes for patients undergoing head and neck free tissue transfer.
In this retrospective cohort study, patients who underwent head and neck free tissue transfer by a single reconstructive surgeon between January 2007 and July 2009 were assigned to one of two cohorts based on the timing of their surgery: pre- or post-clinical care pathway implementation. Measured outcomes included peri-operative complications and mortality, length of hospital stay and costs, unplanned reoperations, and readmissions within 30 days of discharge.
The pre-clinical care pathway cohort included 81 patients and the post-clinical care pathway cohort comprised 46. Implementation of the clinical care pathway was associated with decreased variability in length of hospital stay (median (interquartile range) = 8 (6, 11) vs 7 (6, 9) days). The post-clinical care pathway cohort also had a significantly lower unplanned reoperation rate (15.2 vs 35.8 per cent, p = 0.01).
A clinical care pathway is a successful means of standardising and improving complex patient care. In this study, care pathway implementation in head and neck free tissue transfer patients improved efficiency and the quality of patient care.
This study aimed to evaluate the role of 3 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging in predicting tongue tumour thickness via direct and reconstructed measures, and their correlations with corresponding histological measures, nodal metastasis and extracapsular spread.
A prospective study was conducted of 25 patients with histologically proven squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue and pre-operative 3 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging from 2009 to 2012.
Correlations between 3 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging and histological measures of tongue tumour thickness were assessed using the Pearson correlation coefficient: r values were 0.84 (p < 0.0001) and 0.81 (p < 0.0001) for direct and reconstructed measurements, respectively. For magnetic resonance imaging, direct measures of tumour thickness (mean ± standard deviation, 18.2 ± 7.3 mm) did not significantly differ from the reconstructed measures (mean ± standard deviation, 17.9 ± 7.2 mm; r = 0.879). Moreover, 3 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging had 83 per cent sensitivity, 82 per cent specificity, 82 per cent accuracy and a 90 per cent negative predictive value for detecting cervical lymph node metastasis.
In this cohort, 3 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging measures of tumour thickness correlated highly with the corresponding histological measures. Further, 3 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging was an effective method of detecting malignant adenopathy with extracapsular spread.
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