Experts Predict Surgeon Shortage for Joint Replacements
The number of patients requiring hip or knee replacement is likely to soon outpace the number of surgeons who can perform the procedure, according to two studies presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Academy oOrthopaedic Surgeons. Based on one study, researchers predict that by 2016, 46 percent of needed hip replacements and 72 of needed knee replacements will not be able to be completed. A second study found that a major reason for the growth in demand for joint replacement is the increase in younger patients. Both studies conclude that the key to stemming the supply-side crisis is for policymakers to reconsider reimbursement rates to encourage more surgeons to enter the orthopaedic specialty.