Future Demand for Total Joint Arthroplasty Drives Renewed Interest in Arthroplasty Fellowship
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Total joint arthroplasty (TJA) procedure volume has increased continuously in the USA, but prior reports have suggested that orthopedic surgeon supply may not meet future demand due to retirement and waning interest in arthroplasty fellowships.
We sought to evaluate trends in growth in the number of orthopedic surgeons, orthopedic residents, and arthroplasty fellowships, in order to predict changes in future TJA procedure volume per surgeon.
We retrospectively reviewed data from 1995 to 2017 from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the National Residency Matching Program, American Osteopathic Association Residency Match, the San Francisco Match, and the National Inpatient Sample. Annual volume growth in the rate of TJA procedures and in orthopedic surgeons, residents, and fellows was determined.
TJA procedure volume increased 129%, orthopedic surgeon volume increased 15.6%, and orthopedic resident volume increased 29.4%. The percentage of filled arthroplasty fellowship positions increased from 81.9 to 96.4%, and the number of arthroplasty fellowship positions increased 33.5%. Mean surgeon age increased from 50.9 to 56.5 years. By 2030, we estimate 90.1 TJA procedures per surgeon will be performed annually, a 57% increase from 2014. Over the same time period, we project mean orthopedic surgeon age to reach 62.4 years, if current growth rate persists.
During the study period, orthopedic surgeon, resident, and arthroplasty fellow volume have increased, although at a slower rate than TJA procedure growth. Renewed interest in arthroplasty fellowships has been demonstrated by an increase in the number and near complete filling of all available positions.
Keywordstotal joint arthroplasty orthopedic surgeon orthopedic resident arthroplasty fellow epidemiology projection
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Conflict of Interest
Matthew Sloan, MD, MS, and Ajay Premkumar, MD, MPH, declare that they have no conflicts of interest. Neil P. Sheth, MD, reports being a paid consultant to Zimmer, Smith & Nephew, and Medacta and receiving royalties from Elsevier, outside the submitted work.
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