Lunar phase does not influence surgical quality

Eur J Med Res. 2003 Sep 29;8(9):414-8.


Introduction: 10.5% of the German population believes in the effects of lunar phase on disease. The topic is hot in German TV program. It is believed that at new moon the rate of bleeding complications is increased and operations during the waning phase of the moon would be best to avoid complications, pain and scaring. To our knowledge the effect of lunar phase has not been studied in ambulatory surgery.

Patients and methods: 782 patients were evaluated for complications and perception of the personal health after herniotomy, haemorrhoidectomy and crossectomy with partial vein stripping with or without phlebectomy as part of a quality control study. A questionnaire has been sent out to the patients asking the patient to rate postoperative pain, pain medication, restriction of daily activity, mental health and emotion, status of complaints after the operation.

Results: In 782 patients (mean age 50 years) 866 operations were performed. There were no major complications and only in 3.71% minor complications (local bleeding, haematoma, inflammation, abscess, seroma, lymphatic fistula, dehiscence) were observed. The operations were equally distributed to the lunar phases. Complications and patient's subjective perception of pain, restriction of daily activity, mental health and emotion, status of complaints after the operation were not associated with a lunar phase.

Conclusions: The hypothesis that lunar phase influences the outcome of ambulatory operations is not valid. With regard to the organization of operations in the hospital and the patient's uncertainty to decide the right time the lunar phase philosophy may have an socio-economic impact not yet understood.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures / psychology
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Folklore*
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Moon*
  • Pain / classification
  • Pain / complications
  • Pain / psychology
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / psychology
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Surgery Department, Hospital
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome