So are you set to have an operation in the not too distant future? If you are, you may want to have a look at your surgeons birth certificate as, according to a study, Middle-aged surgeons in their late 30s and 40s and are the safest.
Although inexperience is an obvious disadvantage, if a surgeon has been in the profession for decades it is not a good thing. The small study, was undertaken by bmj.com. The analysis looked at more than 3,500 operations carried out by 28 surgeons. The link they found between what age a surgeon is and complication rates was irrespective of how complex the operation was.
The study came to the conclusion that patients that has surgery (thyroid gland removal) were more prone to have some sort of complications if either an inexperienced surgeon or a surgeon who had been in the job for more than two decades.
The researchers chose to look thyroidectomy due to the fact that the procedure is, basically, carried out in the same way and has not changed that much over the past 30 years
A surgeon at the end of his career will most likely be undertaking a completely different range of operations than at the beginning of his career taking into account of the pace of change in medical developments.
Many experts in the field have gone on record as saying that the studies are in no means conclusive and further investigation is needed. Factors contributing to poor performance in older and experienced surgeons need to be investigated much further.
Medical negligence professionals encounters loads of cases where patients have been treated by younger healthcare professionals, and errors have occurred. This problem is a symptom of the wider failings of the NHS system. It is the case that these inexperienced surgeons are not supported properly by senior staff members.
Patients undergoing surgery should not worry if the surgeon is in the “risky” age scale. There are other factors which are more important such as the wider hospital environment, how well it is managed and how well resourced the hospital is.