Incidence and causes of ocular surgery cancellations in an ambulatory surgical center

Bonnie A. Henderson, Miguel Naveiras, Nicholas Butler, Ellen Hertzmark, Zandra Ferrufino-Ponce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To report the incidence and analyze potentially preventable causes of ocular surgery cancellations. SETTING: Ambulatory Care Surgical Center of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. METHODS: A retrospective review of the ambulatory surgical center cancellation records and patient medical records from December 2001 to December 2003 was conducted. The primary statistical analysis was conditional logistic regression. RESULTS: Three hundred seventy-nine of 7153 (5.3%) ambulatory ophthalmic surgeries were cancelled within 24 hours of the scheduled start time. Cancellation rates varied by patient age, with the rate among children being highest (8.7%) and that among older patients (age 60+) lowest (4.9%; P = .08). Surgeons who performed at least 4 surgeries per month on average had the lowest cancellation rate (P = .08). Cancellations occurred less frequently in warmer months (June, 3.3%; August, 4.2%) than during the rest of the seasons (P<.001). The highest incidence of cancellations occurred in February (7.8%) and the lowest in June (3.3%). Of the total causes, 41% were considered "preventable," 45% "unpreventable," and 14% "no reason given." Cancellations deemed preventable were lower in general anesthesia cases (1.0%) than in local anesthesia cases (2.0%; P = .02). Preventable cancellation rates also varied by procedure and were statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS: Among ambulatory ophthalmic surgeries, there was a higher incidence of late cancellations in pediatric cases. Late cancellation rates were highest in cases scheduled in the winter, especially in February. Of the reasons documented for cancellations, 41% were considered "preventable" with proper preoperative counseling and instructions. The costs of late cancellations to the particular institution are estimated to be at least $100 000 per year, or nearly 1 month of scheduled surgeries in a 2-year period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-102
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of cataract and refractive surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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