In a ground-breaking development, two significant studies conducted in Canada and Sweden found that patients who are operated on by female surgeons are less likely to encounter complications and need follow-up treatment than their counterparts who undergo surgery with male surgeons. These results disprove long-held notions regarding surgical outcomes and have important ramifications for the surgical sector.
Researchers from Canada and Sweden carefully examined more than a million patient records from comprehensive medical registers, revealing an intriguing pattern. Female surgeons typically provided better post-operative results for their patients and required less medical intervention in the months after surgery.
The research is taking a closer look at the potential causes of these discrepancies. Initial research indicates that female surgeons typically operate more slowly, which may improve outcomes by assuring thorough attention to detail in the operating room.
In roughly 1.2 million patients in Ontario between 2007 and 2019, Wallis' team looked at medical complications, readmission rates, and post-operative death for a variety of surgical procedures. The survey, which was published in Jama Surgery, found that 12.5% of patients operated on by female surgeons experienced "adverse postoperative events," compared to 13.9% of those operated on by male surgeons. Patients who underwent surgery with female surgeons had better outcomes even a year later, with just 20.7% having negative postoperative events as opposed to 25% for patients who underwent surgery with male surgeons. Examining post-surgical mortality, it should be noted that the gap was even more evident, with patients treated by male surgeons having a 25% higher risk of passing away within a year following the operation.
Dr. Christopher Wallis, Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto
At the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Dr. My Blohm and colleagues studied gallbladder removal procedures and found that female surgeons had superior results with fewer problems and shorter hospital stays. Less frequently did the female doctors transition from minimally invasive to open surgery while performing an operation than did the male surgeons.
These results are unquestionably important, but experts and academics stress the need for caution when interpreting them because they come from observational studies. Nevertheless, they highlight how crucial risk management and surgical skills are to generating positive patient outcomes.
The Royal College of Surgeons of England's president, Tim Mitchell, recognizes the significance of these findings in light of the body of prior research. He contends that the stereotype of surgeons as 'lonesome cowboys' is out of date and that the field should advance to include procedures that have demonstrated promise in improving patient outcomes.
These studies' ramifications go beyond certain surgical procedures. They need greater efforts to encourage more women to pursue careers in surgery and to foster environments that help them grow in their careers. It is crucial to address the so-called "leaky pipeline" problem, which is the decline in the proportion of women in senior surgical positions.
The astounding results from these investigations, in light of established norms in surgery, highlight the potential advantages of embracing procedures frequently used by female doctors. The knowledge obtained from these studies may result in better patient outcomes and a more diverse surgical profession as the medical community continues to develop.
(Input from various media sources)
(Rehash/Dr. Nithin GN)