When picking a doctor to perform surgery, you typically look at the physicians credentials, but maybe you should pay more attention to their age.

A new study finds surgeons aged 30 to 50 have the best operation outcomes compared to their younger and older colleagues.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, looked at two major postoperative complications in 3,574 thyroidectomies – removal of the thyroid gland – performed by 28 surgeons at five french hospitals during a one-year period.

The complications — permanent recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy, which is severe hoarseness, and hypoparathyroidism, which is damage to the parathyroid glands leading to low calcium levels, cramping and twitching — were measured 48 hours after surgery and again six months later.

Researchers found patients were at higher risk of permanent complications following thyroid surgery when operated on by inexperienced surgeons and those in practice for 20 years or more. Surgeons between 35 and 50 years old, with 5 to 20 years of practice since graduation, had better outcomes than their younger or older colleagues.

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