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February/March 2012 (vol. 08/5)

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Research Plus

Age and surgical performance

Thyroid surgeons aged 35–50 years (with five to 20 years’ experience) have better patient outcomes than older or younger colleagues, according to a prospective cross-sectional study carried out in five academic hospitals in France. It analysed 3,574 thyroidectomies conducted by 28 surgeons over 12 months. Two major complications were assessed: recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy (2.1% prevalence rate) and hypoparathyroidism (2.7%). Surgical experience of 20 years or more was significantly associated with a raised risk of both conditions (odds ratios 3.06 and 7.56, respectively). There was a concave association between hypoparathyroidism and years’ experience or age of the surgeon (p = 0.036 and p = 0.035, respectively).

British Medical Journal; 2011; 343: D8041.

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Occupational Health at Work February/March 2012 (vol. 08/5) pp40