Film stars acting as doctors are better looking than both the surgeons and male physicians

in Blog Rounds/Medicine by

(This is an old post from my other blog, The Daily Habit, which I thought should be somewhat “related” to the theme of Em Dy’s 14th ed TBR, Paging Doc Hollywood). My well meaning compatriot physicians, please don’t kill me. I’m just reposting a study!)

The much controversial and perpetually challenged hypotheses that male surgeons are better looking and taller than their male physician counterpart has just reached another level. Now, this hypotheses is confirmed and supported by research and published in a very reputable and peer reviewed journal- The British Medical Journal. Here is an excerpt of the whole abstract:

Phenotypic differences between male physicians, surgeons, and film stars: A comparative study

Antoni Trilla, director of preventive medicine and epidemiology unit, Marta Aymerich, consultant, haemopathology unit, Antonio M Lacy, consultant, general and digestive tract surgery unit, Maria J Bertran, specialist, preventive medicine and epidemiology unit

1 Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, 08036 Barcelona, Spain

Objectives To test the hypothesis that, on average, male surgeons are taller and better looking than male physicians, and to compare both sets of doctors with film stars who play doctors on screen.

Design Comparative study.

Setting Typical university hospital in Spain, located in Barcelona and not in a sleepy backwater.

Participants Random sample of 12 surgeons and 12 physicians plus 4 external controls (film stars who play doctors), matched by age (50s) and sex (all male).

Interventions An independent committee (all female) evaluated the “good looking score” (range 1-7).

Main outcome measures Height (cm) and points on the good looking score.

Results Surgeons were significantly taller than physicians (mean height 179.4 v 172.6 cm; P=0.01). Controls had significantly higher good looking scores than surgeons (mean score 5.96 v 4.39; difference between means 1.57, 95% confidence interval 0.69 to 2.45; P=0.013) and physicians (5.96 v 3.65; 2.31, 1.58 to 3.04; P=0.003). Surgeons had significantly higher good looking scores than physicians (4.39 v 3.65; 0.74; 0.25 to 1.23; P=0.010).

Conclusions Male surgeons are taller and better looking than physicians, but film stars who play doctors on screen are better looking than both these groups of doctors. Whether these phenotypic differences are genetic or environmental is unclear.

You can read about the research here.

Not to downgrade our male physicians counterpart, the study also showed film stars acting as doctors look better than both groups. But then again their not doctors anyway.


The research is not the level 1 type of clinical evidence and there are many loopholes you can find. But I never expected such research will actually be undertaken and much less be published in a reputable journal.

Now I can see the wide grin in so many surgeon’s face. Or the film stars.

Dr. Remo-tito Aguilar co-founded #HealthXPh. A board certified orthopedic surgeon, he is previously Chief of Clinics at St. Louis Hospital in Tacurong City and a consultant in Orthopedics at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. Dr. Aguilar is a healthcare social media evangelist and writes his medical musings at The Cast & Curious (www.remomd.com).

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