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Female Surgeons Have Lower Rates of Adverse Postoperative Outcomes

Findings persist for common surgeries when accounting for patient, procedure, surgeon, and other characteristics

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Sept. 1, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Patients treated by female surgeons have a lower likelihood of adverse postoperative outcomes, including death, at 90 days and one year postsurgery, according to a study published online Aug. 30 in JAMA Surgery.

Christopher J.D. Wallis, M.D., Ph.D., from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, and colleagues examined whether surgeon sex is associated with 90-day and one-year outcomes among patients undergoing common surgeries. The analysis included more than 1.16 million Canadian adults undergoing one of 25 common elective or emergent surgeries from 2007 through 2019.

The researchers found that overall, 14.3 percent of patients had one or more adverse postoperative outcomes at 90 days and 25.0 percent had one or more adverse postoperative outcomes one year postsurgery. For the composite of death, readmission, or complication, rates were higher among patients treated by male than female surgeons at both 90 days (13.9 versus 12.5 percent; adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.08; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.03 to 1.13) and one year (25.0 versus 20.7 percent; aOR, 1.06; 95 percent CI, 1.01 to 1.12), when adjusting for patient, procedure, surgeon, anesthesiologist, and hospital characteristics. Findings were similar for mortality at 90 days (0.8 versus 0.5 percent; aOR, 1.25; 95 percent CI, 1.12 to 1.39) and one year (2.4 versus 1.6 percent; aOR, 1.24; 95 percent CI, 1.13 to 1.36).

“These findings further support differences in patient outcomes based on physician sex that warrant deeper study regarding underlying causes and potential solutions,” write the authors.

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