Impact of Team Familiarity in the Operating Room on Surgical Complications

Kurmann, Anita; Keller, S.; Tschan-Semmer, F.; Seelandt, J.; Semmer, Norbert; Candinas, Daniel; Beldi, Guido (2014). Impact of Team Familiarity in the Operating Room on Surgical Complications. World journal of surgery, 38(12), pp. 3047-3052. Springer 10.1007/s00268-014-2680-2

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The quality of surgical performance depends on the technical skills of the surgical team as well as on non-technical skills, including teamwork. The present study evaluated the impact of familiarity among members of the surgical team on morbidity in patients undergoing elective open abdominal surgery.


A retrospective analysis was performed to compare the surgical outcomes of patients who underwent major abdominal operations between the first month (period I) and the last month (period II) of a 6-month period of continuous teamwork (stable dyads of one senior and one junior surgeon formed every 6 months). Of 117 patients, 59 and 58 patients underwent operations during period I and period II, respectively, between January 2010 and June 2012. Team performance was assessed via questionnaire by specialized work psychologists; in addition, intraoperative sound levels were measured.


The incidence of overall complications was significantly higher in period I than in period II (54.2 vs. 34.5 %; P = 0.041). Postoperative complications grade <3 were significantly more frequently diagnosed in patients who had operations during period I (39.0 vs. 15.5 %; P = 0.007), whereas no between-group differences in grade ≥3 complications were found (15.3 vs. 19.0 %; P = 0.807). Concentration scores from senior surgeons were significantly higher in period II than in period I (P = 0.033). Sound levels during the middle third part of the operations were significantly higher in period I (median above the baseline 8.85 dB [range 4.5-11.3 dB] vs. 7.17 dB [5.24-9.43 dB]; P < 0.001).


Team familiarity improves team performance and reduces morbidity in patients undergoing abdominal surgery.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gastro-intestinal, Liver and Lung Disorders (DMLL) > Clinic of Visceral Surgery and Medicine > Visceral Surgery
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Work and Organisational Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Semmer, Norbert; Candinas, Daniel and Beldi, Guido


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Lilian Karin Smith-Wirth

Date Deposited:

20 Mar 2015 13:45

Last Modified:

10 Sep 2017 13:02

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