Purpose: Pediatric patients with hand trauma and congenital differences are treated across multiple surgical subspecialties. The purpose of this study was to assess operative trends over an 11-year period using the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and the American Board of Plastic Surgery databases to better understand which surgeons were caring for pediatric hand fractures and birth differences in the first 2 years of their practice. Methods: We queried the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and the American Board of Plastic Surgery databases for surgical procedures performed by applicants for the oral examinations between 2004 and 2014. Candidates self-identified as general orthopedic surgeon, pediatric orthopedic surgeon, hand surgeon (orthopedic and plastic), and general plastic surgeon. This included a total of 2,453 Board applicants. A total of 6,835 surgeries for birth differences or hand trauma were identified and reviewed for patients <18 years of age. Results: There were 5,759 trauma and 1,076 congenital difference surgeries. A total of 4,786 (70%) surgeries were performed by orthopedic surgeons. Fellowship-trained hand surgeons (orthopedic and plastic) performed 3,809 (56%) surgeries. Pediatric orthopedic surgeons performed 608 (9%) surgeries. Over the 11 years, general orthopedic surgeons performed 4.2 fewer surgeries per year, whereas surgeons in hand orthopedics and pediatric orthopedics performed 10.8 and 4.7 additional surgeries per year. There were 3.1 fewer general orthopedic surgeons per year, whereas there were 3.6 and 1.4 additional surgeons in hand orthopedics and pediatric orthopedics each year, respectively. The number of surgeries and the number of surgeons submitting surgeries did not significantly change for those in general plastics or hand plastics. Conclusions: This analysis of early practice patterns over 11 years demonstrates that the increasing numbers of surgeons in pediatric orthopedics and hand orthopedics are performing more surgeries compared with other fields. Clinical relevance: The care of children with hand injuries and congenital differences is evolving, with direct implications for residency and fellowship education.
- Congenital anomaly
- hand fracture