Recent studies have revealed that patients who undergo surgery performed by female surgeons are less likely to experience complications and require additional medical attention compared to those treated by their male counterparts. These findings emphasize the importance of male surgeons learning from their female colleagues to improve patient outcomes.
Researchers in Canada and Sweden conducted separate studies by reviewing over 1 million patient records from medical registers. The data showed that patients treated by female surgeons exhibited significantly better outcomes with fewer complications in the months following the surgery. The reasons for these differences are still being investigated, but the records suggest that female surgeons tend to operate more slowly, potentially achieving better results by taking their time during the surgical procedure.
Dr. Christopher Wallis, who led one of the studies at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, noted that these findings should prompt male surgeons to reflect on their surgical approach and learn from their female colleagues for the benefit of their patients. Instead of using direct quotes, it can be stated that Dr. Wallis encouraged male surgeons to pause and consider the findings of the studies.
The Canadian study analyzed medical complications, readmission rates, and death rates after surgery in nearly 1.2 million patients between 2007 and 2019. The results, published in Jama Surgery, revealed that 90 days after the operation, 13.9% of patients treated by male surgeons experienced adverse post-operative events, while the figure was 12.5% for patients treated by female surgeons. Even after one year, patients treated by female surgeons had better outcomes, with 20.7% experiencing adverse postoperative events compared to 25% of patients treated by male surgeons. The study also found that patients treated by male surgeons were 25% more likely to die one year after surgery compared to patients treated by female surgeons.
A second study conducted in Sweden, published in Jama Surgery as well, further supported these observations. The study focused on 150,000 patients who underwent gallbladder removal surgery. Patients treated by female surgeons experienced fewer complications and shorter hospital stays compared to those treated by male surgeons. The female surgeons also exhibited more deliberate surgical approaches, operating at a slower pace and avoiding switching from minimally invasive techniques to open surgery.
Dr. My Blohm and her colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, who conducted the Swedish study, cautioned that these findings should be treated with caution due to the observational nature of the studies. However, the results suggest that surgical techniques and risks taken during the procedure might contribute to the observed differences in outcome. Dr. Blohm also highlighted that previous studies have consistently shown that female surgeons are as good as, if not slightly better than, their male counterparts.
Dr. Wallis emphasized that there are numerous lessons to be learned from these studies. He advocated for embracing practices more common among female physicians, as they are likely to improve patient outcomes. Additionally, he stressed the importance of evolving the field of surgery to attract and retain more women and promote them to influential positions. This would help address the existing gender disparity and create a more diverse surgical community.
Although the studies establish an association between female surgeons and improved patient outcomes, it is essential to note that the results do not prove causation. Factors such as case complexity were taken into account during the analysis, but the possibility of residual confounding factors cannot be completely ruled out, as stated by Tim Mitchell, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
In conclusion, these studies shed light on the positive impact of female surgeons on patient care. It is crucial for male surgeons to reflect on their practices and learn from their female colleagues. By embracing these insights and fostering a more inclusive surgical environment, healthcare professionals can work towards improved patient outcomes and the advancement of the surgical field.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: What do studies suggest regarding female surgeons and patient outcomes?
A: Recent studies indicate that patients treated by female surgeons are less likely to experience complications and require additional medical attention compared to those treated by male surgeons.
Q: What are some potential reasons for the observed differences in outcomes?
A: The studies suggest that female surgeons tend to operate more slowly, potentially leading to better results. Surgical techniques and risk-taking during procedures may also contribute to the differences in outcomes.
Q: What did Dr. Christopher Wallis suggest male surgeons should do?
A: Dr. Wallis encouraged male surgeons to reflect on their surgical approach and learn from their female colleagues to improve patient outcomes.
Q: What were the findings of the Canadian study?
A: The Canadian study, which analyzed over 1.2 million patient records, found that patients treated by female surgeons had significantly better outcomes with fewer complications within the months following the surgery.
Q: What did the Swedish study focus on?
A: The Swedish study investigated the outcomes of patients who underwent gallbladder removal surgery. It found that patients treated by female surgeons experienced fewer complications and shorter hospital stays than those treated by male surgeons.
Q: Does the association between female surgeons and improved patient outcomes prove causation?
A: No, the studies establish an association, but it does not prove causation. Other factors, such as case complexity, were considered, but residual confounding factors cannot be completely ruled out.