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The Good Doctor

How Many Have You Done, Doc?

Many studies have found that the key to successful surgical outcomes is the doctor's experience with the procedure. The hospital's experience matters too, says John D. Birkmeyer, M.D., professor of surgery at the University of Michigan; his research shows that, particularly with complex operations, patients fare significantly better when the surgeon regularly does the procedure and if a high number are performed at the hospital. There's no magic point at which practice makes perfect, but according to studies and/or expert opinion, these are the ideal minimum numbers:

PROCEDURE: Breast cancer surgery
IDEAL MINIMUM NUMBER: More than 15 a year, done at a hospital performing at least 125 a year

PROCEDURE: Gastric bypass surgery

PROCEDURE: Heart bypass surgery
IDEAL MINIMUM NUMBER: More than 160 a year

PROCEDURE : Uterine fibroid embolization
IDEAL MINIMUM NUMBER: 15 total, for an experienced interventional radiologist

PROCEDURE: LASIK (and other refractive eye surgeries)
IDEAL MINIMUM NUMBER: 1,000 total (at least 100 on women whose condition is similar to yours)



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