Surgery and Gender: Is It a Match Made in Operating Room Heaven?

Same-Gender Surgeries Don't Guarantee Safety Debunking the Myth

News Picture: Surgery Doesn’t Get Safer When Patient, Surgeon Are Same Gender

Same-gender surgery doesn’t equal safety

More and more female surgeons are breaking through the gender barrier and entering the surgical field. But here’s the burning question: Does it really matter if your gender matches that of your surgeon? Well, according to a study from the University of California Los Angeles, the answer is a resounding “probably not.”

The researchers found little evidence to support the idea that patient-surgeon “gender concordance” has any meaningful impact on surgical outcomes. So, before you go seeking out a surgeon based solely on their gender, you might want to consider other factors that could be more important for your surgical success.

“Given that the difference in patient mortality [death] between female and male surgeons was small, when choosing a surgeon, patients should take into account factors beyond the gender of the surgeon,” advised Dr. Yusuke Tsugawa, the senior author of the study.

Dr. Tsugawa, who happens to be an associate professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine and health services research at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, knows a thing or two about the topic.

In their research, the UCLA team analyzed data from over 2.9 million Medicare patients who underwent a variety of surgeries between 2016 and 2019. From abdominal aortic aneurysm repair to knee replacements, they covered a range of procedures.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. Out of these surgeries, about 1.2 million occurred when both the patient and the surgeon were male, while approximately 86,000 happened when both parties were female. The remaining cases involved various pairings of male and female patients and surgeons.

But here’s the kicker: It turns out that the gender pairing had no major impact on post-surgical deaths within 30 days of the procedure. Regardless of the gender combination, the death rate remained at or below 2%. This finding held true even after adjusting for multiple patient and surgeon characteristics.

In fact, the researchers wanted to make it crystal clear that the quality of surgical care provided by female surgeons in the United States is on par with, or even slightly better than, that provided by their male counterparts. So, ladies, rejoice! Gender isn’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to finding a skilled surgeon.

So, before you rush to make any assumptions based on your surgeon’s gender, keep in mind that what truly matters is their expertise, skill, and the quality of care they provide. After all, you don’t want to end up choosing a surgeon solely based on gender and then discovering that their surgical skills are about as useful as a squishy stress ball.

More information

If you want to delve deeper into post-op surgical risks, check out Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Reader Interaction

What are your thoughts on this study? Do you think the gender of the surgeon really matters in the grand scheme of things? Leave your comments below and let’s have a lively discussion about it!

News Picture: Surgery Doesn’t Get Safer When Patient, Surgeon Are Same Gender

When it comes to safety after a surgery, it probably doesn’t matter if your gender matches that of your surgeon.

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