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Neurosurgery. 2012 Apr;70(4):959-64; discussion 964. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e31823e9706.

Sex disparities in postoperative outcomes after neurosurgical intervention: findings from the UMEND project.

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University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.



Little is known about the relationship between sex and the risk of complications after neurosurgical intervention. Improved understanding of this relationship may assist clinicians in advising patients of the risks and benefits of neurosurgical intervention and managing their patients after surgery.


To determine the independent relationship between sex and morbidity after neurosurgical intervention.


Data were collected for 918 neurosurgical cases at the University of Michigan Hospitals. Bivariate χ(2) tests and analysis of variance were used to assess relationships between sex, demographics, case type, medical comorbidities, postoperative complication risk, and postoperative hospital and intensive care unit stay. We fit a multivariable logistic regression model of 30-day complication risk by sex adjusted for potential confounders and used multifactor analysis of variance to assess the relationship between sex and hospital as well as intensive care unit stay, adjusted for potential confounders.


The percentages of patients experiencing complications within 30 days of surgery were 20.3% for male and 11.3% for female patients. In multivariable regression models, male sex predicted postoperative complications compared with female sex (odds ratio: 2.0, 95% confidence interval: 1.4-3.0). By multifactor analysis of variance, male sex was associated with longer hospital stay (P < .01), but was not associated with neurosurgical intensive care unit stay.


Our findings suggest male sex is an independent predictor of postoperative complication risk and increased hospital stay after neurosurgical intervention. This finding may be used clinically to help identify those patients at increased risk of a complicated recovery. Future research might consider mechanisms relating sex and postoperative outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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