More than 40% of early career sports medicine surgeons’ cases are out of specialty

Source/Disclosures

Disclosures: Inclan reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for the relevant financial disclosures of all other authors.


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Early career sports medicine surgeons should expect to perform general, trauma, and reconstructive cases in adults, as results indicate that this population of surgeons will perform more than 40% of their cases outside of the sports medicine specialty.

Using American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, Part II, Case List Database, Paul M. Inclan, MD, and colleagues analyzed the practice patterns of 3,298 early-career surgeons who completed a sports medicine fellowship between January 1, 2003, and January 1, 2020.

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The proportion of sports medicine or arthroscopy cases did not change over the study period, although surgeons performed fewer total and sports medicine or arthroscopy cases over the study period. Data extracted from Inclan PM, et al. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2022; doi: 10.2106/JBJS.21.01129.

According to the study, researchers recorded annual and total procedure volumes, applicant caseloads, as well as trends in caseload rates and fellowship training patterns.

Among the 100.6 cases referred by these early career surgeons during the 6-month case collection period, 58.6% were sports medicine or arthroscopy cases (n = 59). Trauma or general procedures accounted for 29.1% of cases; adult reconstruction procedures accounted for 4.5% of cases; and “other” procedures accounted for 7.8% of cases. Inclan and colleagues also noted that the proportion of sports medicine or arthroscopy cases did not change during the study period, although surgeons performed fewer total and sports medicine or arthroscopy cases during the study period.

Among the 333 surgeons (10.1%) who reported dual training, the number of candidates who received additional training in pediatrics and adult reconstruction increased, while the number of candidates who received additional training in trauma was decreased over the study period.

“Early-career sports medicine surgeons should expect to perform a significant volume of general, trauma, and reconstructive cases in adults, thus entering general practice with a sports medicine emphasis,” Inclan and colleagues wrote in the study. “As such, trainees entering sports medicine must build a solid foundation during rotations in these subspecialties throughout their orthopedic residency. Additionally, recognizing the practice demands of early career sports surgeons, fellowship directors may consider the value of adult reconstruction and/or exposure to trauma.

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