Surgeons show drop in skills the day after boozy dinner

SURGEONS can suffer “post-alcohol impairment” which makes them more error-prone well into the day after a big night out, research confirms.

Irish researchers sent a group of students and a group of surgeons out for a boozy dinner, then the following day tested their ability to use a laparoscopic surgery simulator. Each group exhibited a higher error rate compared with a baseline assessment, even when breathalyser tests showed low or zero residual blood alcohol. 

“Abstinence from alcohol the night before operating may be a sensible consideration for practising surgeons,” the authors said.

Arch Surg 2011; 146:419-26