Socioeconomic Status; Surgery; Health Disparities; Conceptual Model; Review


Health Services Research | Income Distribution | Inequality and Stratification | Medicine and Health | Sociology of Culture


Surgical procedures are both costly and common. There are large differences in surgical outcomes both within and between hospitals based on patient characteristics such as measures of income. In both 2000 and 2009, patients residing in low-income communities had worse morbidity and mortality rates, across a wide range of quality indicators. In this review, the author will explicate the Theory of Fundamental Causes as it relates to surgical care, review key empirical findings and address potential limitations of the theory. This review will provide a platform for researchers to discuss current research in surgical disparities using the Theory of Fundamental Causes and help guide an agenda for future research.