Surgeons, Please Stop Fearing Redheads

Study busts stereotypes about hemorrhages and hernias
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2010 4:28 PM CST
Surgeons, Please Stop Fearing Redheads
About 2% of people worldwide have hair like this.   (Shutterstock)

Redheads have a bad rap among surgeons because they're said to have a low pain threshold and to be more prone to hemorrhages and hernias in surgery or afterward. A new study in the British Medical Journal looked into the matter and has some advice for said surgeons: Get over it. It's generally true that redheads might need more anesthetic because of a particular genetic mutation, but that shouldn't be a big deal. The other fears appear to be stereotypes with no clinical evidence to back them up.

"Despite sporadic reports to the contrary, the clinical implications of red hair phenotype remain questionable," conclude the researchers. "It would seem that the reputation of people with red hair for having increased perioperative risk is without any basis in fact and should only be used as an excuse of last resort by surgeons defending problematic bleeding or recurrent hernias." Here's a take on the study in Time. (More redhead stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.