The colorectal surgeon’s personality may influence the rectal anastomotic decision

Moug, Susan, Henderson, N., Tiernan, J., Bisset, C.N., Ferguson, Eamonn, Harji, D., Maxwell-Armstrong, C., MacDermid, E., Acheson, A.G., Steele, R.J.C. and Fearnhead, N.S. (2018) The colorectal surgeon’s personality may influence the rectal anastomotic decision. Colorectal Disease . ISSN 1463-1318

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Aim. Colorectal surgeons regularly make the decision to anastomose, defunction or form an end colostomy when performing rectal surgery. This study aimed to define personality traits of colorectal surgeons and explore any influence of such traits on the decision to perform a rectal anastomosis.

Method. 50 attendees of The Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland 2016 conference participated. After written consent, all underwent personality testing: alexithymia (inability to understand emotions); type of thinking process (intuitive versus rational) and personality traits (extraversion; agreeableness; openness; emotional stability; conscientiousness). Questions were answered regarding anastomotic decisions in various clinical scenarios and results analysed to reveal any influence of the surgeon’s personality on anastomotic decision.

Results. Participants were: male (86%); consultants (84%); England based (68%). Alexithymia was low (4%) with 81% displaying intuitive thinking (reflex, fast). Participants scored higher in emotional stability (ability to remain calm) and conscientiousness (organised, methodical) compared to population norms. Personality traits influenced the next anastomotic decision if: surgeons had recently received criticism at a departmental audit meeting; operating with an anaesthetist that is not your regular one; or there had been no anastomotic leaks in their patients for >1 year.

Conclusion. Colorectal surgeons have speciality relevant personalities that potentially influence the important decision to anastomose and could explain the variation in surgical practice across the U.K. Future work should explore these findings in other countries and any link of personality traits to patient related outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Ferguson, Eamonn
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2018 10:32
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 19:41

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