Objective: To compare short term surgical outcomes between male and female gastrointestinal surgeons in Japan. Design: Retrospective cohort study. Setting: Data from the Japanese National Clinical Database (includes data on >95% of surgeries performed in Japan) (2013-17) and the Japanese Society of Gastroenterological Surgery. Participants: Male and female surgeons who performed distal gastrectomy, total gastrectomy, and low anterior resection. Main outcome measures: Surgical mortality, surgical mortality combined with postoperative complications, pancreatic fistula (distal gastrectomy/total gastrectomy only), and anastomotic leakage (low anterior resection only). The association of surgeons' gender with surgery related mortality and surgical complications was examined using multivariable logistic regression models adjusted for patient, surgeon, and hospital characteristics. Results: A total of 149 193 distal gastrectomy surgeries (male surgeons: 140 971 (94.5%); female surgeons: 8222 (5.5%)); 63 417 gastrectomy surgeries (male surgeons: 59 915 (94.5%); female surgeons: 3502 (5.5%)); and 81 593 low anterior resection procedures (male surgeons: 77 864 (95.4%);female surgeons: 3729 (4.6%)) were done. On average, female surgeons had fewer post-registration years, operated on patients at higher risk, and did fewer laparoscopic surgeries than male surgeons. No significant difference was found between male and female surgeons in the adjusted risk for surgical mortality (adjusted odds ratio 0.98 (95% confidence interval 0.74 to 1.29) for distal gastrectomy; 0.83 (0.57 to 1.19) for total gastrectomy; 0.56 (0.30 to 1.05) for low anterior resection), surgical mortality combined with Clavien-Dindo grade ≥3 complications (adjusted odds ratio 1.03 (0.93 to 1.14) for distal gastrectomy; 0.92 (0.81 to 1.05) for total gastrectomy; 1.02 (0.91 to 1.15) for low anterior resection), pancreatic fistula (adjusted odds ratio 1.16 (0.97 to 1.38) for distal gastrectomy; 1.02 (0.84 to 1.23) for total gastrectomy), and anastomotic leakage (adjusted odds ratio 1.04 (0.92 to 1.18) for low anterior resection). Conclusion: This study found no significant adjusted risk difference in the outcomes of surgeries performed by male versus female gastrointestinal surgeons. Despite disadvantages, female surgeons take on patients at high risk. Greater access to surgical training for female physicians is warranted in Japan.
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