A Mayo Clinic study of thousands of operations found that overlapping surgeries are safe.
Spacing operations so a surgeon has two patients in an operating room at the same time is common at Mayo and other medical institutions.
These overlapping surgeries are staggered so the critical parts of operations don't happen at the same time.
The Mayo Clinic study compared outcomes of thousands of overlapping and non-overlapping surgeries, and found no difference in rates of postoperative complications or deaths within a month after the operations.
According to a press release from Mayo Clinic, the researchers used Mayo Clinic data from the University HealthSystem Consortium, an alliance of academic medical centers whose members include Mayo Clinic, to match 10,614 overlapping surgeries to 16,111 non-overlapping procedures performed at Mayo in Rochester.
An additional sample using more than 10,000 operations including more than 3,000 with overlap, matched by surgeon, was analyzed using data from Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus in the American College of Surgeons-National Surgical Quality Improvement Program. That analysis also found no differences in outcomes.
This method gives patients greater access to qualified surgeons, allows more efficient use of operating rooms, and avoids unnecessary downtime for surgeons.