There was a time long ago when a surgeon was viewed as a “male” profession, but those days are long gone and more women are pursuing careers in surgery than ever before. This is incredibly inspiring, because the more skilled surgeons who enter the field, the better access patients will have to a doctor who can provide them with the exact treatment they need to overcome whatever health obstacles they are facing.
So even though we’re making great strides, women still face a number of challenges when working to become a surgeon that men simply do not. One of those challenges is the stigma that a male surgeon is more capable of performing a procedure for whatever reason than a female. Recently, a study out of Sweden decided to put this outdated stereotype to the test, and what they found really wasn’t all that surprising. Both men and women are completely capable of performing hip replacement procedures and delivering fantastic outcomes.
Sex Stereotypes and Hip Replacement
To get a better understanding of any potential differences in care among male and female surgeons performing a total hip arthroplasty, researchers looked at nearly 12,000 surgeries performed by 200 surgeons, 35 of whom were women. Sweden also has the distinction of having one of the highest rates of female orthopedic surgeons in the world, making it the perfect place to analyze any perceived disparity.
After looking at the data, researchers found that the rate of adverse events in patients undergoing a total hip replacement procedure was extremely low. Female surgeons had a 6 percent complication rate, while male surgeons had a 7 percent complication rate, leading researchers to conclude that there were “marginal” differences between the two sexes. Female orthopedic surgeons performed an average of 19 total hip arthroplasties a year, while male counterparts performed an average of 23.
Researchers hope that the data speaks volumes to both prospective surgeons and patients. Women in medicine shouldn’t fear entering the hip and knee speciality because it’s a physical profession, and patients should know that they are in great hands, regardless of the sex of their surgeon.
“Stereotypes of orthopedic surgeons within each subspecialty including fields such as arthroplasty, which is perceived to be more physically demanding, may result in fewer women selecting certain orthopedic subspecialties,” wrote Dr. Per Jolback of the University of Gothenburg and colleagues. “This observed difference in adverse events between female and male surgeons was small and likely lacks clinical relevance.”
We have met so many wonderful women in the field of hip and knee arthroplasty, and the world would only benefit from more women entering the field. It’s nice to see these stereotypes put to bed and know that patients are in good hands when they need a new hip or knee. And if you’re in the market for a hip or knee replacement procedure in the greater Knoxville area, give Dr. Botero and his team a call today at (865) 558-4444.