Choosing a surgeon is something that should be taken very seriously if the need for the surgery isn’t an emergency. You probably have a list of things that you want to consider when you are going through possible surgeons. While it might be tempting to consider only the number of surgeries that the surgeon has performed, you must also consider the types of surgeries that are included in that number.

A study that was done on complex surgeries performed by 25,000 surgeons from 2008 and 2013 showed that oftentimes, the best surgeon for a patient is one who specializes only in the type of surgery the patient will need. People who had the surgery done by a specialist had a greatly reduced rate of death.

The study looked at more than 695,000 surgeries, each of which was one of eight heart or cancer surgeries. Considering only those eight complex surgeries, the mortality rate was anywhere from 1 to 7 percent before the study. In six of the surgical procedures, the patients were more likely to die within the first month postoperative if the surgeon performed other surgeries besides only the one being studied.

The conclusion of the study is that the surgeon specializing in a procedure is more important than the number of surgeries performed. One example was that of doctors who perform valve replacements. If the surgeon does 20 of those surgeries without doing other surgeries, his or her patients will likely fare better than a patient who goes to a surgeon who does twice that number of valve replacements and 60 other surgeries.

Not all surgical procedures require a specialized surgeon, but it is something to consider if you are having a procedure done. If you are harmed during the surgery or during the postoperative period, you might choose to seek compensation.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “A New Factor When Choosing a Surgeon,” Melanie Evans, Sep. 19, 2016