Orthopedic Surgeon Training Needs Improvements, Study Suggests

Quality of Back Pain and Other Care May Be Affected Until Various Residency Challenges Are Addressed

Orthopedic surgeon training requires several basic changes to improve upon the doctor learning experience and patient care for back pain and other symptoms, according to a study gathering the opinions of orthopedic residency directors throughout the country.

As detailed in the January issue of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, this study gauged the responses of 17 heads of noteworthy orthopedic programs in the United States, with these medical professionals asked to evaluate current residency models for orthopedic training.

According to survey analysis conducted by researchers at New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), the participants noted how orthopedic residency training changes are especially needed to address work-hour restrictions.

First instituted by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education in 2003, work-hour restrictions limit the amount of time that residents get to spend with patients, which according to the study compromises the ability of these aspiring orthopedic surgeons to learn how to treat patients from start to finish and to develop relationships with them.

The study also cited needed improvements in providing training via electronic technology, which is highly beneficial to residents but not how many older orthopedic surgeons were educated, and accepting more trainees into orthopedic programs given the demand for more orthopedic surgeons as baby boomers continue to age.

To become an orthopedic spine surgeon, residents must complete a five-year residency program that focuses on the diagnosis and surgical treatment of spinal disorders, arthritis, trauma, fractures and musculoskeletal conditions.

Back pain patients looking to find an orthopedic surgeon for a spinal deformity are advised to keep certain considerations in mind, including but not limited to the surgeon's training, experience with specific surgeries, and previous success rates.

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