A Population-Based Analysis of Time to Surgery and Travel Distances for Brachial Plexus Surgery

Christopher J. Dy, Jack Baty, Mohammed J. Saeed, Margaret A. Olsen, Daniel A. Osei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Purpose Despite the importance of timely evaluation for patients with brachial plexus injuries (BPIs), in clinical practice we have noted delays in referral. Because the published BPI experience is largely from individual centers, we used a population-based approach to evaluate the delivery of care for patients with BPI. Methods We used statewide administrative databases from Florida (2007–2013), New York (2008–2012), and North Carolina (2009–2010) to create a cohort of patients who underwent surgery for BPI (exploration, repair, neurolysis, grafting, or nerve transfer). Emergency department and inpatient records were used to determine the time interval between the injury and surgical treatment. Distances between treating hospitals and between the patient's home ZIP code and the surgical hospital were recorded. A multivariable logistic regression model was used to determine predictors for time from injury to surgery exceeding 365 days. Results Within the 222 patients in our cohort, median time from injury to surgery was 7.6 months and exceeded 365 days in 29% (64 of 222 patients) of cases. Treatment at a smaller hospital for the initial injury was significantly associated with surgery beyond 365 days after injury. Patient insurance type, travel distance for surgery, distance between the 2 treating hospitals, and changing hospitals between injury and surgery did not significantly influence time to surgery. Conclusions Nearly one third of patients in Florida, New York, and North Carolina underwent BPI surgery more than 1 year after the injury. Patients initially treated at smaller hospitals are at risk for undergoing delayed BPI surgery. Clinical relevance These findings can inform administrative and policy efforts to expedite timely referral of patients with BPI to experienced centers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-909.e3
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Brachial plexus
  • delay
  • nerve surgery
  • time to surgery
  • travel


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