The Looming Surgeon Shortage

Fri, 12/04/2009 - 7:04am
Scott S. Kelley, MD

The difference between a good total joint and a great total joint replacement is initially small, but over time the difference can be significant. A good total joint might last 10 years, but a great total joint could last 30 years. Being a total joint surgeon is a profession with little or no room for error in every single hand movement. The procedures are demanding and the patient population is complex.

Now, imagine this: The number of total joint replacement surgeons in the United States is cut by over 40 percent. The options for a surgeon are limited due to demographic or insurance restrictions. This becomes a significant problem if the joint replacement fails because the subsequent surgery is much more complicated. Therefore, fewer surgeons are willing to manage the revision.

Unfortunately, this could be the future of total joint replacement surgeons in America.

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