Are Women Surgeons Better Than Male Counterparts?

Careers

Posted By Terri Williams on June 20, 2017 at 9:49 am

What makes good surgeons? It’s an important question: A 2015 review published in JAMA Surgery reveals that in roughly 1 out of every 100,000 U.S. surgeries, the wrong body part – and sometimes, the wrong person – ias operated on. In approximately 1 out of every 10,000 operations, surgeons left a medical sponge (or some other surgical item) inside the patient.

Admittedly, these are pretty low error rates – unless you happen to be one of the errors. Also, these mistakes tend to occur when there are multiple surgeons, the patient is having multiple procedures, or there are time constraints during either the verification process or the actual surgery.

However, other issues, such as a surgical site infection or mistakenly cutting a blood vessel, could be directly related to surgical skills. A new study published in the Journal of Surgical Education set out to discover whether there are gender differences in basic surgical skills training.

The subjects of the study, conducted by researchers in Shanghai, China, were 317 male medical students and 25 women students. Students were rated on their ability to perform 10 surgical skills: preoperative preparation, sterile technique, knot tying, basic suture I, basic suture II, debridement, cecectomy, phlebotomy, laparotomy, and small bowel resection with hand-sewn anastomosis.

Overall, women medical students scored higher – and they scored significantly higher in some areas.

Other studies have shown that women may make better doctors. For example, a University of Montreal study of more than 870 physicians treating diabetic patients revealed that women performed better in three key areas: scheduling frequent check-ups, prescribing eye exams, and prescribing medications to treat cholesterol.

However, the study (which had a relatively even mix of both genders) also revealed that the men physicians performed…

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