10 Interesting Statistics and Facts About Orthopedic Practices

Here are 10 interesting statistics and facts about orthopedic practices, as gathered by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in its Orthopaedic Practice in the U.S. 2005-2006 report.

1. Private practice makes up the majority (81 percent) of orthopedic practice settings. Within the private orthopedic setting, 60 percent are in orthopedic group practice, 31 percent in solo practice and 9 percent are in a multi-specialty practice. The remaining 19 percent is split between seven additional practice settings: academic practice (9 percent), hospital/medical center practice (4 percent), military practice (2 percent), pre-paid plan/HMO practice (2 percent), public institution, non-military (1 percent) and other setting (2 percent).

2. Here are the top 10 fellowships (with the percent of members with the fellowship in parentheses).

  • Sports medicine (28.4 percent)
  • Hand surgery (20 percent)
  • Spine surgery (14 percent)
  • Total joint (9.6 percent)
  • Adult knee (9.1 percent)
  • Pediatric orthopedics (8.8 percent)
  • Adult reconstruction (8.5 percent)
  • Adult hip (7.6 percent)
  • Trauma and fractures, including Ilizarov (7.6 percent)
  • Shoulder and elbow (7.3 percent)

Most orthopedic surgeons (86 percent) report completing one fellowship; 12 percent reported they have completed two fellowships; 1 percent reported completing three. The remaining 1 percent reported completing more than three fellowships.

3. Orthopedic surgeons perform an average of 32 orthopedic procedures each month. Among 12 frequently performed procedures, arthroscopy of the knee was reported by more surgeons than other procedures, and with greater frequency. Spinal fusion or re-fusion was reported by the second largest number of surgeons. Rotator cuff repair was the second most-frequent reported procedure, followed by release of carpal tunnel.

4. Orthopedic surgeons report that 19 percent of their patient payment came from private sources, including private insurance and self-pay. Managed care accounted for 33 percent of payment, split between HMOs (8.5 percent) and PPOs (24.2 percent). Government patient payments are primarily Medicare patients (24.8 percent), with only 7.1 percent coming from Medicaid. Workers' compensation patient payments accounted for nearly 12 percent of the total, while 4 percent of service time was considered pro bono.

5. Surgeons younger than 40 comprise less than 15 percent of all members. The proportion of surgeons who remain active past the age of 70 represented 5 percent of the total orthopedic workforce in 2006. Surgeons 70 and older report performing an average of 19 procedures per month. The highest average number of procedures performed monthly (35) is by orthopedic surgeons in the 40 to 49 age bracket.

General orthopedic surgeons report an average of 28 procedures performed per month, while specialists report 33 procedures per month.

6. Here are the top 10 states in terms of number of orthopedic surgeons (with number in parentheses).

  • California (2180)
  • New York (1183)
  • Texas 1141
  • Florida (1035)
  • Pennsylvania (764)
  • Illinois (689)
  • Ohio (629)
  • New Jersey (558)
  • North Carolina (545)
  • Massachusetts (495)

7. Here are the 10 states with the highest orthopedic surgeon density per 100,000 populations (with density in parentheses).

  • Wyoming (12.17)
  • Montana (10.69)
  • District of Columbia (9.81)
  • Alaska (9.64)
  • Vermont (8.67)
  • New Hampshire (8.40)
  • Connecticut (8.09)
  • Rhode Island (8.08)
  • Maryland (7.82)
  • Massachusetts (7.74)

8. Here are the 10 states with the lowest orthopedic surgeon density per 100,000 populations (with density in parentheses).

  • West Virginia (4.18)
  • Mississippi (4.38)
  • Michigan (4.39)
  • Oklahoma (4.96)
  • Texas (4.99)
  • Arizona (5.07)
  • New Mexico (5.08)
  • Kentucky (5.18)
  • Arkansas (5.22)
  • Nevada (5.22)

9. On average, orthopedic surgeons took 4.3 weeks of vacation in 2005, spent 8.9 days at CME events and 8.2 days at professional meetings. The number of days spent at CME events and professional meetings varies substantially by practice setting, with surgeons in a military setting spending the least days (7.7 CME and 6.7 meetings), while surgeons in a private academic setting spend the most (11.4 CME; 13.6 meetings).

10. On average, full-time practicing orthopedic surgeons spend 86 percent of their time in clinical practice, which includes office, surgical, and patient rounds time. Approximately 16 percent of fulltime surgeons report spending 100 percent of their time in clinical practice. The remaining time is split between administration (7 percent), teaching (4 percent), research (2 percent) and other related activities (2 percent).

Read the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons report.

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