Does the gender of your surgeon affect your outcome?

Original Article:

The growing number of female surgeons

On August 30th, 2023, the Journal of American Medical Association published a commentary entitled “Are Women Better Surgeons Than Men?” In a field that was once completely dominated by men, surgeons are now split  almost equally 49% women and 51% men. 

How do female surgeons approach patient care differently?

The outcomes from multiple studies were analyzed to investigate differences in approaches to patient care. While female surgeons may have spent more time in the operating room, patients reported more positive feelings of collaboration and patient-centered decision making. Traits like patience and attention to detail were also common among female surgeons, while male surgeons tended to emphasize speed and appeared to make riskier decisions. 

How does this translate into clinical results?

The article also found an association between female surgeons and shorter postoperative hospital stays, in addition to having fewer severe surgical complications. However, the complexity of each surgical case differs and the personalities of each surgeon differ creating confounding variables among the data. As is frequently the case, beware of over-interpreting the findings, more research needs to be done.