Surgeons between the ages of 35 and 50 provide the safest care compared with their younger and older colleagues, according to a new study.

A team of researchers led by Drs Antoine Duclos and Jean-Christophe Lifante from the University of Lyon in France wanted to determine the association between surgeons' experience and postoperative complications after thyroid surgery.

There were 3,574 thyroidectomies - removal of the thyroid gland - involved in the study by 28 surgeons, with an average age of 41 years with an average length of experience of 10 years, at five French hospitals during a one-year period.

Researchers tracked two major complications of thyroid surgery 48 hours after surgery and again at least six months after surgery. The complications are severe hoarseness and damage to the parathyroid glands leading to low calcium levels, cramping and twitching.

While background information was gathered from patients, the surgeons were surveyed about their background and professional experience, as well.

The study found that when operated on by inexperienced surgeons and those in practice for 20 years or more, patients were at higher risk of permanent complications following thyroid surgery.

It also found that when thyroid surgery was performed by surgeons in practice for 20 years or more, the probability of permanent complications increased considerably.

The study found that surgeons between 35 and 50 years old had better outcomes than their younger or older colleagues.