Pittsburgh Surgical Outcomes Research Center
Transforming the conduct of clinical research


Assessing variability in surgical performance of laparoscopic procedures

In this PittsburghCREATES collaboration with Parkview Mirro Center for Research and Innovation (Fort Wayne, IN), videos of laparoscopic cholecystectomy cases will be examined to determine the factors influencing surgical variability, including variability among high-performing surgeons. The purpose of the project is ultimately training and assessment that leads to consistently excellent performance and patient outcomes.

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Assessing Technical and Non-technical skills in robotic surgery

In this collaboration between PittsburghCREATES and TransEnterix USA, a recently FDA approved robotic surgery system called Senhance, a mobile assessment was developed to assess skills specific to robotics (OBGyn; General Surgery) and to learning the operation of a specific robotics platform. Additional topics that were examined in this venture include assessing patient selection skills, skills transfer between laparoscopic and robotics training, and surgical teamwork.

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Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) Pilot Project

This is a pilot project with the goal of adding information on the “patient experience” & quality of life to the MBSAQIP data set. They have developed an automated system that sends emails and reminders to patients once they are registered (preoperative and annually). Validated tools are utilized (PROMIS 10, Obesity-related Problem Scale, Obesity and Weight Loss Quality of Life Instrument). Data is compiled by patient, provider, and center, and further broken down by surgeon and center with a national comparison by procedure.

Bariatric Surgery Targeting Opioid Prescriptions (BSTOP)

This is a collaborative project with the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP). The goal is to improve patient pain control while reducing both prescriptions and patient utilization of opioids in the short and long-term after bariatric surgery.  The protocol includes: patient education, use of regional analgesia, increased utilization of multi-modal pain strategies during hospitalization, use of non-opioid pain medications postoperatively, monitoring of opioids, and compliance with the SUPPORT Act (prescription medication disposition).

Readmission Reduction QI Project:

This is a Minimally Invasive Bariatric and General Surgery (MIBGS) division project focusing on  preventable readmissions, especially admissions from the emergency department for intolerance to food and liquids and dehydration. A Power Plan was developed based on a similar project for OB patients experiencing hyperemesis. The goal is to attempt adequate hydration, nausea and pain treatment, and diagnostic evaluation in the ER before considering admission.

A Randomized, Multi-Center, Phased, Pivotal Safety and Efficacy Study Comparing the Elipse™ Gastric Balloon System vs. Sham for the Treatment of Obese

The proposed research’s primary objective is to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the Elipse Gastric Balloon System for the treatment of obese adults. The rationale for this study is to collect additional safety, efficacy, and performance data on a larger cohort of subjects to validate benefit-risk profile to support FDA approval. This study will also allow control subjects to cross over and receive the Balloon, affording greater insights into the safety and efficacy of the device.

Clinical Impact and Cost-Effectiveness of Pain Management in Knee OA

The broad objective guiding this research study is to conduct analyses that will provide critical insights to clinicians and decision makers to optimize knee osteoarthritis (OA) pain management while reducing opioid use in persons with OA and major comorbidities, including mental health disorders and morbid obesity.

Childhood Obesity and Asthma: The Role of Adipose Tissue

The overarching goal is to advance the understanding of obese asthma, develop pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches to manage obese children with asthma, and improve their quality of life. The main objective is to identify pathways within adipose tissue that lead to obese asthma. The hypothesis is that changes in the epigenetic regulation and transcriptomic activity in adipose tissue are associated with obesity and asthma in children.

Effectiveness of Gastric Sleeve vs. Gastric Bypass for Cardiovascular Disease

The goal of the proposed study is to provide population-based, comprehensive, rigorous evidence for both clinical and policy decision-making, informing the choice between RYGB and vertical sleeve gastrectomy for overall cardiovascular disease risk reduction and risk factor remission, as well as safety in a diverse group of patients (55% racial/ethnic minority). With these aims, the investigators will be able to provide recommendations to providers and patients about the decision between procedures and help prioritize future health policy decisions and research investments in this area.