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In the selection of a surgeon, gray hair may not make any difference.

Surgeon Age Not A Factor In Outcome

Investigators are reporting in the September issue of Annals of Surgery that for most procedures the age of the surgeon does not impact patient outcomes. gives more of the details:

A surgeon’s experience is more relevant to patient outcomes than the surgeon’s age, according to a study in the September Annals of Surgery. University of Michigan researchers examined outcomes based on surgeons’ ages for 461,000 Medicare patients receiving one of eight common cardiovascular or cancer surgeries between 1998 and 1999.

Surgeon age was not associated with higher mortality for most procedures, the exceptions being carotid endarterectomies, coronary artery bypass grafts and pancreatectomies. Overall, the volume of procedures performed by a surgeon was a better indicator of patient mortality. The researchers said they undertook the study because recent research indicated older physicians may provide worse primary care, but the effect of age on surgeons’ performance had not been studied. They advised patients to look at risk-adjusted outcomes and hospital and surgical volume statistics rather than age when choosing a surgeon.

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