Role of Surgeon Volume in Radical Prostatectomy Outcomes

Published in: Journal of Clinical Oncology, v. 21, no. 3, Feb. 1, 2003, p. 401-405

Posted on on January 01, 2003

by Jim C. Hu, Karen F. Gold, Chris L. Pashos, Shilpa S. Mehta, Mark Litwin

Read More

Access further information on this document at Journal of Clinical Oncology

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

PURPOSE: To examine the effect of hospital and surgeon volume on postoperative outcomes and to determine whether hospital or surgeon volume is the stronger predictor. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Using 1997 to 1998 claims data from a national 5% random sample of Medicare beneficiaries, we identified 2,292 men who underwent radical prostatectomy at 1,210 hospitals by 1,788 surgeons. Hospitals were classified as high (> or = 60 per year) or low (< 60 per year) volume according to radical prostatectomy experience over the 2-year period. Surgeons were classified as high (> or = 40 per year) or low (< 40 per year) volume. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to control for patient demographics and comorbidities when assessing the association of hospital and surgeon volume with in-hospital complications, length of stay, and anastomotic stricture rates. In-hospital complications included cardiac, respiratory, vascular, wound, genitourinary, and miscellaneous surgical and medical conditions. RESULTS: High-volume surgeons had half the complication risk (odds ratio [OR] = 0.53; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.32 to 0.89) and shorter lengths of stay (4.1 v 5.2 days, P =.03) compared with low-volume surgeons. High-volume hospital patients tended to have fewer anastomotic strictures (OR = 0.72; 95% CI, 0.49 to 1.04). Patient age (> or = 75 years) was associated with more complications (OR = 1.9; 95% CI, 1.39 to 2.70), more anastomotic strictures (OR = 2.2; 95% CI, 1.54 to 3.15), and longer hospital stays (parameter estimate = 2.26; 95% CI, 1.75 to 2.77). CONCLUSION: Surgeon volume is inversely related to in-hospital complications and length of stay in men undergoing radical prostatectomy. Hospital volume is not significantly associated with outcomes after adjusting for physician volume. Further study is necessary to elucidate the mechanism of the volume-outcome effect.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.