The fact that there are more women surgeons today than 50 years ago is not just good news for equality. This is also good news for anyone who needs surgery because a recent study found that female surgeon patients have a lower risk of death and complications in the first month after surgery.
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto and studied more than 100,000 surgical patients between 2007 and 2015. They began by matching patients by type of surgery, age, income and gender. Then they paired the surgeons according to the experience, the age and the hospital. In the end, the only variable between these patients was the kind of their surgeon.
The results of this study gave surprising results, especially when considering the number of people who prefer male surgeons, to the point that a man even refused to undergo surgery when he discovered that the anesthesiologist was a woman. Despite this bias against female physicians, study patients were 12% less likely to die within 30 days of surgery if their surgeon was female.
Although the figures are not statistically significant to indicate a clear difference, it was also found that patients whose surgeons were women were less likely to be readmitted to the hospital during the first 30 days after their intervention and had less of complications.
Dr. Raj Satkunasivam, lead researcher of the study, believes this surprisingly significant difference could be in the way women care for their patients. However, further research is needed to conclusively determine what makes such a difference between the results of male and female surgeon patients.
Women are thought to follow care guidelines with greater attention, are more patient-centered and tend to have better communication than their male counterparts. These fundamental differences may play a role in the outcome of these patients because they allow the surgeon to be aware of the small problems they can solve before they become larger problems.
What is obvious is that men and women have different ways of practicing medicine, even if they have learned in the same institutions. Further research is needed to find out if there is a difference in the way a man and a woman learn and develop skills that could also play a role in the results of surgical operations.
While this study certainly helps to counter the misconception that female surgeons are inferior to male surgeons, this does not guarantee that the choice of a surgeon will bring a positive result following a surgical procedure. There are other factors that determine the outcome of the surgery, including the age and gender of the patient and the age and experience of the surgeon.
Those who have an upcoming surgery can rest assured that they do not need to worry about the outcome of their operation if they have a woman performing it, and may even have fewer complications afterwards. .