Published online Apr 18, 2021. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v12.i4.234
Peer-review started: December 25, 2020
First decision: January 18, 2021
Revised: January 28, 2021
Accepted: April 5, 2021
Article in press: April 5, 2021
Published online: April 18, 2021
The aging surgeon has remained a contentious patient safety issue, as the average age of surgeons continues to rise.
When should an older surgeon stop operating? This becomes an important issue when we consider that the surgical profession is highly dependent on memory, sensory acuity, clinical decisiveness, technical skills and physical stamina; skills and abilities that may decrease with age.
The aim of this scoping review study was to investigate strategies used to determine competency in the industrial workplace that could be transferrable in the assessment of aging surgeons and to identify existing competency.
Surgeon’s retirement age remains a contentious issue and presently there is no mandatory retirement age for surgeons. Furthermore, we could not find any universal, well-established and accepted policies of testing for competency of aging surgeons.
A surgeon should not be forced to hang up his/her surgical cap at a predetermined age, but should be able to practice for as long as his/her surgical skills are objectively maintained at the appropriate level of competency.
More studies need to evaluate the validity and reliability of these simulators for staff surgeons before even considering implementation.