-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Surgeons aged 35 to 50
provide the safest care for patients, a new study suggests.
The findings raise concerns about ongoing training and
motivation of surgeons during their careers, according to the
researchers at the University of Lyon in France.
They analyzed data from 3,574 thyroidectomies (removal of the
thyroid gland) by 28 surgeons at five French hospitals over a
one-year period. The average age of the surgeons was 41 and they
had an average of 10 years of experience.
The researchers looked at the rates of two major complications
48 hours and at least six months after surgery: permanent recurrent
laryngeal nerve palsy (severe hoarseness) and hypoparathyroidism
(damage to the parathyroid glands that results in low calcium
levels, cramping and twitching).
The results showed that patients had a higher risk of permanent
complications when their procedure was performed by inexperienced
surgeons or those with 20 or more years of experience. Surgeons
aged 35 to 50 with five to 20 years of experience had better
outcomes than those who were younger or older.
Other unknown or unexamined factors may explain part of the
variation in patient complication rates, the researchers noted.
However, they said their findings suggest that surgeons'
performance can vary over the course of a career and that surgeons
cannot achieve or maintain optimal performance simply by
This raises concerns about ongoing training and motivation
throughout a career than can last several decades, the researchers
The study was published Jan. 10 online in the
British Medical Journal.
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality outlines
what you need to know about
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