A study has shown that women are 15% more likely to be killed or seriously injured if their surgery is performed by men than by surgeons who are of the same gender as them. 

Researchers from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, and University of Toronto in Canada looked into the possibility that someone would die or suffer a severe condition based on their gender.

It was found that women can operate on either men or women. There is no higher risk for death.

The likelihood of a woman being operated on by a man is 15 percent higher than if she were to be performed by a man.

Scientists are unable to explain how this is possible and suggest that further research should be done into the reasons why it is more hazardous for female patients to have their operations performed by men. 

Researchers found that women who were operated on by a male surgeon were 15% more likely to either die or suffer severe complications as a result of the operation. There was no increased risk found if a woman operated on a man (file photo)

Research showed that females who had their operation performed by male surgeons were 15 percent more likely to die from the procedure or have severe complications. A woman who was operated on by a male surgeon did not have an increased chance of dying or sustaining serious complications (file photo).

“What’s most troubling and surprising is the fact that adverse outcomes including complications and deaths were associated with sex disccordance,” Dr Amalia Cchran of the University of Florida wrote in a research note.

This association was overwhelmingly detrimental to female patients. It is urgent to take action on the association between surgeon and patient sex discordances and their outcomes.

Last week, the research team published their findings in JAMA Surgery. They compiled data from over 180,000 elective and emergent surgeries in Canada between November 2020 and March 2021.

717,548 of those surveyed were considered’sex dicordant’, meaning that the patient and surgeon are not the same gender.

Over 667,000 male surgeons operated on females, while 50,000 on females were being treated by men.

A total of 15% of the 180,000 procedures were fatal.

Data were then examined for possible complications that may arise from surgery. This could include age, type, or any conditions.

After making adjustments, the doctors discovered that the patient and the surgeon were not at increased risk for death.

It was not a higher risk if the doctor was female and was performing on a male patient.

However, when a female was to be operated on by an adult male, however, the risk of infection would rise sharply to 15%.

Cochran points out that while the causes are still unknown, it is possible to immediately prevent adverse surgical outcomes from women by closing the gap between the number of American surgeons and the gender.

Researchers are not sure the exact reason for the disparity in outcomes for women depneing on the gender of their surgeon, but one expert writes the issue could be mitigated in the interim by introducing more women to the emergency room (file photo)

Researchers don’t know the reason behind the difference in outcomes between women and men depending on their surgeon gender, but one expert says that it could be reduced by increasing the number of women admitted to the hospital emergency room. (file photo).

“Although we don’t know the root causes for this disparity, further research is warranted, but it should not stop us from taking action immediately,” she stated.

“The elephant in the bedroom is the shortage of female surgeons. 

“In 2019, 22% of all general surgeons were women in the US, with orthopedic surgery having the lowest proportion of female surgeons.”

Her belief is that surgeons need to reevaluate their work and ensure they provide quality care for women.

Self-reflection about the care we give is important. She said that surgeons are likely to believe that they offer the same level of care to all patients, regardless of their identity. 

“However, these data highlight an underappreciated phenomena and demonstrate a tangible repercussions of implicit bias.

Cochran says hospital leaders can also take action and provide metrics on how surgeons perform based upon gender.

Additionally, she suggests that surgeons receive sensitivity training to determine the cause and fix it.