The Role of Gender in Surgeon Selection

Affect of Surgeon Gender on Patient Choice

A study published online December 2, 2016, in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal sought to evaluate the impact of a plastic surgeon’s gender on patient choice.

The prospective study was conducted in a single private practice of two plastic surgeons, one male and one female, both closely matched in training, experience and reputation. Two hundred consecutive women calling for a consultation were asked if they preferred a male or female doctor and their preference, age and area(s) of interest were recorded. The researchers found that 46% of female patients had no gender preference when it comes to choosing a doctor, 26% requested a female surgeon and 1% requested a male. The remaining 27% requested a specific doctor, indicating reputation is more important to a patient than gender.

The study also notes that:

  • Female patients’ preference for female doctors may be related to greater comforts with intimate exams as well as communication style.
  • Visits between female doctors and female patients are longer than those with different genders.
  • Other studies have confirmed that women engage in a partnership-building style, showing more concern and empathy, and asking more about patients’ emotions.

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