Experience in Providing Ambulatory Surgery From an Expeditionary Fast Transport Mobile and Rapidly Deployable Expeditionary Medical Unit During Continuing Promise 2018

Conor B. Garry, Reginald Middlebrooks, John D. Moore, Jason M. Souza, Timothy E. Sayles, Robert L. Ricca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: This article describes the surgical component of the Continuing Promise 2018 (CP-18) medical training and military cooperation mission. We report on the surgical experience and lessons learned from performing peacetime ambulatory surgeries in a tent-based facility constructed on partner nation territory. Methods: This CP mission was unique in utilizing a land-based expeditionary surgical facility. Institutional Review Board approval was obtained to collect prospective deidentified patient data and aggregate information on all surgical cases performed. Specific aims of this study included describing surgical patient characteristics and evaluating conservatively selected cases performed in this environment. Body mass index (BMI) was used as a crude screening tool for perioperative risk to assist patient selection. Our secondary aim was to report lessons learned from preparation, logistics, and host nation exchanges. The team coordinated medical credentialing and documentation of all medical supplies with each host nation. Advance teams collaborated with local physicians in country to arrange training exchanges and identify surgical candidates. Results: The mission was conducted from February to April 2018. Only two of five planned partner nation visits were completed. The surgical facility supported 78 procedures over 14 surgical days, averaging over six cases performed per core surgical day. Patients were predominantly female, with a mean age of 25.4 and a mean BMI of 31.1. The average surgical time was 37.5 minutes, the average anesthesia time was 70 minutes, and the average recovery time was 47.6 minutes. No significant complications or adverse events were noted. Conclusions: CP-18 was the first CP mission to perform elective ambulatory surgery on foreign soil using a tent-based facility in a noncombat, nondisaster environment instead of a hospital or amphibious ship. This mission demonstrated that such a facility may be employed to safely perform low-risk ambulatory surgeries on carefully selected patients. The Expeditionary Medical Unit, coupled with the fast transport vessel enabled rapid expeditionary surgical facility setup with significant military and disaster relief applications. Expansion of surgical indications should be performed carefully and deliberately to avoid complications and damage to international relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1835-E1841
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


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