Orthopaedic surgeons: as strong as an ox and almost twice as clever? A multicentre prospective comparative study
Are orthopaedic surgeons stronger but less intelligent than their anaesthetist colleagues?
This month’s research explained article describes a paper published in the BMJ’s Christmas issue, an issue that is dedicated to publishing funny, quirky, and bizarre research.
The authors aimed to find scientific evidence for “the stereotypical image of the strong but stupid orthopaedic surgeon.” The starting point of this research seems to have been emotional: they describe that one of them has been the target of mockery by anaesthetist colleagues, comparing him with an ox and implying that he was as strong and as intelligent as the aforementioned bovine. So the authors, orthopaedic surgeons themselves, did a literature search and found that there is indeed literature confirming this stereotype. They found papers in the BMJ comparing orthopaedic surgeons with gorillas, implying superhuman strength and less than human intelligence.12
This research question is relevant as many clinicians, including myself, believe the stereotypical orthopaedic surgeon is a big, genial, uncomplicated man (you