Number of Surgery vs Academic Titles

Should I select a physician with a high quantity of surgery?
Or a Professor with superior academic achievements?

Written by

Severcan M. Eralp

You are considering to get your treatment in Turkey and you are searching. You come across Physicians who highlight their high number of performed surgeries.

Some critics on the other hand argues that “variety of surgical procedures” is more important than the quantity of a specific repeated procedure.

It gets more complicated when you read arguments about academic titles that implies being an active teaching Professor is superior.

Confusing isn’t it ?

Let’s listen to comments of our physicians and try to understand better…

Prof. Mahir Özmen as a surgeon who has reached a very high number of surgeries in his field, defines the volume of the surgeon and the volume of the hospital in a particular treatment as “very important” but continues:

“But it is not everything. Because doing a lot of cases makes you a good “technician”. Without reading, without writing, and without completing your academic side, that will not lead to  a successful surgery.”

H-index is the measure of internationally acknowledged academic performance and this standard measures both the productivity and the citation impact of a scholar, and Prof. Özmen has one of the highest h-index scores of Turkey among General Surgeons.

Other than experience and academic achievements, he also underlines the fact that a well-established facility is a prerequisite for either case.

Bahçeşehir University BAU is the biggest private university of Turkey and Prof. Türker Kılıç ise the Dean of the Medical Faculty of BAU since its establishment.

As having both a superior academic performance rewarded by a very high h-index and one of the highest number of surgeries of the world in his focus area, he agrees that there is absolutely a correlation between reaching the high number of cases on a specific surgery and the overall success of that treatment. He continues with a question: “Does h-index also show the high quality of physician’s education or the level of surgical skills?”

He gives the example of a patient who is in an unfamiliar country/city and has an illness that needs surgical treatment. His advice for that patient is to search for physicians in the academic world first, to reach a better qualified doctor.

“High academic performance may not solely mean high quality of surgical skills, but in order to find the most skilled surgeons in a specific area , it is better to look first towards highly qualified academic physicians.”

Prof. Nejat Akalın who has been practicing Neurosurgery for almost 40 years now, argues performing too much of the same case may be important but emphasizes the importance of foundation. Learning the procedure at the beginning with the proper method and performing in a good manner, adapting yourself with the progress in surgery, t following the literature, following other people are more critical for him to carry a physicians’s skills to a broader level.

“Doing the same type of operation a lot of times doesn’t mean that you achieve a good result. More important is to learn about your mistakes, what went wrong, to watch and learn from other people’s experiences.”. He underlies experience that is gained by repetition and achievements on the academic side are different but should go hand in hand.”Of course in a surgical clinic, you are accessed by your academic capacity and your surgical skills. So I can say that they usually go altogether.”