Surgery is an important part of contemporary health care, but currently much of surgery lacks a strong evidence base. Uptake of evidence-based medicine (EBM) methods within surgical research and among practitioners has been slow compared with other areas of medicine. Although this is often viewed as arising from practical and cultural barriers, it also reflects a lack of epistemic fit between EBM research methods and surgical practice. In this paper we discuss some epistemic challenges in surgery relating to this lack of fit, and investigate how resources from feminist epistemology can help to characterize them. We point to ways in which these epistemic challenges may be addressed by gathering and disseminating evidence about what works in surgery using methods that are contextual, pluralistic, and sensitive to hierarchies.