Changes in the Practice of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeons Over the Past Decade: Analysis of the Database of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

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Abstract

Background:

There has been an increase in the number of the graduates of pediatric orthopaedic fellowship programs over the past decade creating the potential for increased competition in the field. The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of increased number of pediatric orthopaedic fellowship graduates on case volume as well as the type of procedures performed by recent graduates of pediatric orthopaedic fellowship programs from 2004 to 2014.

Methods:

Case logs submitted for the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery Part II examination by applicants with the self-declared subspecialty of pediatric orthopaedics from 2004 to 2014 were analyzed. Cases were categorized as trauma (upper and lower extremity), spine, sports medicine, hip, deformity correction, foot and ankle, hardware removal, soft tissue procedures, and other. The period was divided into 3 sections: 2004-2007, 2008-2011, 2012-2014. Descriptive analysis was used to report the change in the volume and pattern of practices over the study period.

Results:

Although the number of pediatric orthopaedic subspecialty applicants increased from 15 to 44 from 2004 to 2014, the average cases per year increased from 2142 in 2004-2007 to 2960 in 2007-2011, and to 4160 in 2012-2014. The number of cases performed per applicant remained stable over the study period. Upper extremity trauma cases were the largest category of cases reported and increased in case volume by 141% from 2004 to 2014. Sports medicine cases increased in volume by 175%.

Conclusions:

Despite a large increase in the number of pediatric orthopaedic surgeons over the past decade, there is a concomitant increased in case volume across almost all subspecialties within pediatric orthopaedics. As such, pediatric orthopaedic surgeons who start a new practice can expect to develop a robust practice with a diverse group of pathologies.

Level of Evidence:

Level III.

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