Outcomes of short-term surgical missions (STSMs) hosted in developing countries are underreported, raising quality concerns. This study aims to analyze early outcomes of one humanitarian surgical organization to show that safe essential general surgery can be provided in the context of STSMs. Records from 6 STSMs to Sierra Leone and Ghana were reviewed for early complications and analysis performed to identify associated factors. Missions performed elective, general surgery on low risk patients, with adherence to patient safety protocols. No perioperative mortality occurred from 372 procedures, most frequently inguinal hernia repair (54%). Seventeen surgical (5%), 3 infectious (1.2%), and 6 anesthesia (2%) complications were reported. Only younger age was significantly associated with complications. Essential general surgery can be performed safely on STSM assuming careful patient selection, avoidance of high-risk cases, and adherence to patient safety protocols. Data collection is feasible and should be undertaken to improve the quality of care.
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