Outpatient burn surgery is increasingly utilized in acute burn care. Reports of its safety and efficacy are limited. This study aims to evaluate the safety and cost reduction associated with outpatient burn surgery and to describe our centre’s experience.
This was a single centre, retrospective cohort study of consecutive patients who underwent outpatient burn surgery requiring split thickness skin graft or dermal regenerative template from January 2010 – December 2018. Patient demographics, comorbidities, burn etiologies, operative data and postoperative care were reviewed. The primary outcome is complications involving major graft loss requiring reoperation.
One hundred and sixty-five patients and 173 procedures met the inclusion criteria. The average age was 44 years and 60.6% (100/165) were male. Annual outpatient procedure volume increased 48% from 23 to 34 cases over the 9-year period. The median (IQR) grafted percentage total body surface area was 1.0 (1.0)%. Rate of major graft loss requiring reoperation was 5.2% (9/172) and the most common site was the lower extremity (8/9, 88.9%). Age, sex, co-morbidities, total body surface area, and procedure types were not significantly associated with postoperative complication rates. The outpatient burn surgery model was estimated to save CA$8,170 per patient from inpatient costs.
Demonstration of the safety and cost savings associated with outpatient acute burn surgery is compelling for further utilization. Our experience found the adoption of improved dressing care, appropriate patient selection, increased patient education, adequate pain control, and regimented outpatient multidisciplinary care to be fundamental for effective outpatient surgical burn care.