Orthopedic Statistics and Demographics

Patient explaining shoulder pain to doctor
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Orthopedic surgeons specialize in the treatment of a variety of conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedists treat problems of bones, joints, muscles, nerves, and other parts of the musculoskeletal system. There are a number of sub-specialties within the field of orthopedic surgery.

Facts and Statistics About Orthopedic Surgery

Here are a bunch of facts and statistics about orthopedic surgery. Much of this information is collected from a survey of orthopedic surgeons completed by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. This survey is performed every other year to collect information from orthopedic surgeons in the United States. The survey provides insight into a broad range of topics related to orthopedic surgeons and their patients.

Other sources of orthopedic information include data compiled by Medicare and Medicaid databases from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and private data analysis organizations. Orthopedic surgeons, hospitals, and healthcare organizations may use these data to help inform their decisions about patient care, practice direction, and strategic planning.

Some data highlights about patients include:

  • Orthopedic complaints are the most common reason to seek medical care
  • One in seven Americans has an orthopedic impairment
  • Over seven million Americans required hospitalization for orthopedic conditions

Some of the interesting facts about being an orthopedic surgeon include:

  • The average orthopedic surgeon in the US is 55 years old
  • Over 90% of orthopedic surgeons are men
  • About 90% of orthopedic surgeons are white
  • About 90% of orthopedic surgeons are in full-time practice

As far as typical orthopedic surgery practice, the data shows the following:

  • The most common sub-specialties are: 1. sports medicine, 2. hand surgery, 3. joint replacement
  • About 50% of orthopedic surgeons are sub-specialists, the rest are general practice orthopedists
  • The average orthopedic surgeon performs 29 procedures each month

Many people are curious about the salary of orthopedic surgeons:

  • The average salary of an orthopedic surgeon in 2015 was $421,000
  • Orthopedic surgeons are the highest earning medical specialty
  • The highest earning sub-specialists in orthopedics are 1. spine surgeons, 2. tumor surgeons, 3. joint replacement specialists

Regarding job satisfaction, there are mixed results:

  • About half of all orthopedic surgeons value gratitude and relationships with patients as the most rewarding aspect of their job
  • Half of orthopedic surgeons would choose medicine if they had to choose again, and two-thirds would choose orthopedic surgery as their specialty
  • Unfortunately, 45% of orthopedic surgeons report symptoms of being "burned-out"

These statistics should give you a sense of the specialty of orthopedic surgery. Further details can be found from the sources listed below. Keep in mind, these data are constantly shifting and changing, but it should give a glimpse into the specialty of orthopedic surgery.

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