For patients who need complex surgery, the best surgeon may be one who specializes in one procedure — not just an active surgeon who performs several operations.
Specialists reduced death rates for certain procedures by as much as half, new research shows. The study builds on the longstanding view that the busiest doctors get the best results. Copious research shows patients of active surgeons are less likely to die or suffer complications from an operation.
The study, published in July in the BMJ, analyzed more than 695,000 operations performed by 25,000 surgeons in the U.S. be tween 2008 and 2013; Researchers looked at patients who had one of eight complex cancer and heart surgeries. Entering the study, mortality rates for the eight procedures ranged from 1% to 7%.