A new study links highly skilled surgeons with lower complication rates post-surgery. The study which was conducted by researchers at the University Of Michigan Health System found surgeons who were rated very highly by their peers for their skills actually had lower rates of surgical complications involving patients after the operation, compared to surgeons who were not rated that well.
In the study, more than 20,000 bariatric surgeons were rated by their peers, and the rate of surgical complications associated with these surgeons was analyzed. The rate of post-surgical complications in 10,343 patients who had undergone laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery was analyzed to understand the association between high skill sets and complication rates.
The researchers clearly found there was a very strong link between high skill sets and lower complication rates. Patients who were operated on by surgeons rated very highly by their peers, had significantly fewer post-surgical complication rates, including bleeding or infections. The rating was a scale from 1 to 5 with the highest rated surgeon scoring 4.8, and surgeons at the higher end of the scale posted fewer complications. Besides, the highest and most skilled surgeons also seemed to perform the shortest procedures. Surgeries of shorter duration are typically linked to lower infection and bleeding rates.
Overall, in the study, surgeons who had lower skill ratings had a complication rate of approximately 14.5%. In comparison, highly- skilled surgeons had a complication rate of just 5.2%. Higher skill sets may be linked to not just shorter operations, but also a directly reduced risk of certain types of complications that can even be fatal, like infections and excessive bleeding. Highly- skilled surgeons were also associated with a much lower risk of venous thromboembolism, or the formation of blood clots that can travel to the lungs, with potentially fatal results.