Understanding Financial Relationships Between Orthopedic Surgeons and Industry for Research

Abhishek Tippabhatla, Jason Silvestre, Beltran Torres-Izquierdo, Lawrence Garvin, Kevin G. Shea, John D. Kelly, Pooya Hosseinzadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This study sought to understand trends in industry payments for research awarded to orthopedic surgeons. Materials and Methods: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Open Payments database was queried for the years 2016 to 2021 for industry payments for research. Financial analyses were performed to understand temporal trends and differences by orthopedic subspecialty and principal investigator characteristics such as sex. The threshold for statistical significance was set at .05. Results: A total of 2014 orthopedic surgeons were identified, among whom 542 adult reconstruction (27%) and 460 sports medicine (23%) surgeons were major beneficiaries. Seventy-one female orthopedic surgeons comprised the minority (4%). Total research payments awarded during the study period aggregated to $266,633,592, with adult reconstruction ($88,819,047; 33%) and sports medicine ($57,949,822; 22%) receiving the highest amounts. Total research payments awarded trended upward yearly except for a decline in 2020 that subsequently rebounded (P<.001). Median annual research payment per orthopedic surgeon was $13,375. Median total industry payments per orthopedic surgeon differed between specialties (P <.001), with the highest amounts for adult reconstruction ($44,063) and sports medicine ($34,567) and the lowest amounts for hand ($12,052) and foot and ankle ($19,233). Median total payments did not differ significantly when stratified by sex (P=.276) and region (P=.906). Specialties in which the respective top three companies offered the majority of the research funding were musculoskeletal oncology (90%), pediatric orthopedics (66%), and shoulder and elbow (64%). Conclusion: These results can be used as a primer for orthopedic surgeons seeking to leverage industry relationships to fund translational research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-178
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2024


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