Christopher Wallis

Sex of Surgeon Can Affect Outcomes, at Least for Women Interview with:

Christopher Wallis

Dr. Wallis

Christopher J. D. Wallis, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Division of Urology
University of Toronto
Urologic Oncologist, Division of Urology
Mount Sinai Hospital and University Health Network What is the background for this study?

Response: Previous research has shown that female and male physicians communicate differently with patients. Further, there is evidence that female physicians, including surgeons, spend more time with patients. This, coupled with evidence that female patients may experience disparities in the management of their pain, led us to consider that communication differences may underpin differences in surgical outcomes previously noted (eg. Wallis et al, BMJ 2017) between male and female physicians. We postulated that there may be a differential association between surgeon sex and patient sex in behaviours that would translate into clinically important outcomes. What are the main findings?

Response: We found that sex discordance between patients and surgeons can meaningfully affect patient outcomes following surgery, though this only appears to be relevant for female patients treated by male physicians. This finding will serve as the basis for further work examining what factors underpin this observation. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: We are planning further work, both qualitative and quantitative, to understand the processes of care that may differ and drive these observed associations, including potential differences in pre-operative, intra-operative, and post-operative aspects of surgical care.


Wallis CJD, Jerath A, Coburn N, et al. Association of Surgeon-Patient Sex Concordance With Postoperative Outcomes. JAMA Surg. Published online December 08, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2021.6339



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Last Updated on December 9, 2021 by Marie Benz MD FAAD