Surgery complications don't affect patient satisfaction, study finds

Patient satisfaction with surgeon care does not appear to be linked to whether or not they experienced complications after an operation, a study published in Surgery found.

The researchers compared how 529 patients rated their surgeons in satisfaction surveys after surgical procedures and the number and severity of complications these patients may have had.

In all, 72 percent of the patients rated their surgeons as the "best possible" in satisfaction surveys. Fourteen percent of patients had complications after their procedures, with about 27 percent of complications being major or severe.

Neither the number of complications nor the severity of complications seemed to affect whether patients gave their surgeons the highest marks in satisfaction surveys, the researchers found.

The findings do not necessarily indicate satisfaction surveys are inaccurate, but suggest surgical quality assessments focusing only on complications may not capture every factor affecting how patients feel after surgery, senior study author Emily Winslow, MD, told Reuters.

"Although complication rates should be lowered as much as possible, there is much more to high quality care of surgical patients than low complication rates, and it is those other things that we do not currently measure well and that patient satisfaction scores indirectly capture," Dr. Winslow said.

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