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Niger Postgrad Med J. 2007 Mar;14(1):42-5.

The causes and outcomes of cancellation of orthopaedic surgeries at the obafemi awolowo university teaching hospital complex ile-ife, Nigeria.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Osogbo. E-mail: kehindediya@yahoo.com.



Cancellation of cases on the scheduled day of surgery leads to an inefficient utilisation of scarce hospital and patient's resources. Identifying the causes of such cancellations will assist in taking steps to avoid them.


This is a retrospective study spanning 10 years. Record was taken of all patients who had orthopaedic surgery at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, Ile-Ife Nigeria. The age, sex, type of operation, whether or not the surgery was ever postponed or cancelled, the duration and reasons for such postponements and the duration of admission were collated and analysed.


Five hundred and fifty two (40.8%) of the 1,353 orthopaedic patients scheduled for surgery experienced cancellation. The most common reasons were attributable to the hospital (48.7%) mainly due to infrastructural breakdown (28.7%) and procedural lapses by hospital personnel (20.0%). Self cancellation by patient (37.8%) followed and was mainly due to financial constraints (25.6%). Upper respiratory tract infections were responsible for the cancellation in 8.6%. These delays were responsible for more than 30% of the duration of admission in 93 (16.8%) patients.


The incidence of postponement of cases on the scheduled day of surgery is still high. Most of the causes are preventable. Better infrastructural facilities, enhanced interdepartmental communication and improved attitude to work would reduce the rate and thus enhance utilisation of theatre space.

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