Late-Start Days Increase Total Operative Time in Microvascular Breast Reconstruction

Michael W. Chu, Jason S. Barr, J. Bradford Hill, Katie E. Weichman, Nolan S. Karp, Jamie P. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background Prolonged operative time has been associated with increased postoperative complications and higher costs. Many academic centers have a designated day for didactics that cause cases to start 1 hour later. The purpose of this study is to analyze the late-start effect of microvascular breast reconstructions on operative duration. Methods A retrospective review was performed on all patients who underwent abdomina-based free flap breast reconstruction from 2007 to 2011 and analyzed by those who had surgery on late-start versus normal-start days. Patient demographics, average operative time, postoperative complications, and individual surgeon effects were analyzed. A Student t-test was used to compare operative times with statistical significance set at p < 0.05. A multivariate regression analysis was performed to control for potential confounders. Results A total of 272 patients underwent 461 free flap breast reconstructions. Twenty-one cases were performed on late-start days and 251 cases were performed on normal-start days. Patient demographics and complications were not statistically different between the groups. The average operative time for all reconstructions was 434.3 minutes. The average operative times were significantly longer for late-start days, 517.6 versus 427.3 minutes (p = 0.002). This was true for both unilateral and bilateral reconstructions (432.8 vs. 350.9 minutes, p = 0.05; 551.5 vs. 461.2 minutes, p = 0.007). There were no differences in perioperative complications and multivariate regression showed no statistically significant relationship of confounders to duration of surgery. Conclusion Starting cases 1 hour later can increase operative times. Although outcomes were not affected, we recommend avoiding lengthy procedures on late-start days.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-406
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of reconstructive microsurgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 31 2015


  • OR time
  • autologous breast reconstruction
  • breast reconstruction
  • free flap
  • free tissue transfer
  • late-start
  • microvascular
  • operative duration
  • operative time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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