07:00 AM

Paper Addresses Challenges to Women Going into Orthopedic Surgery

A paper published in the February issue of AAOS Now addresses one of the biggest challenges facing women considering a career in orthopedic surgery. The article, by Karen Sutton, MD, and colleagues at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) and Tulane University, focuses on concerns about pregnancy as a potential deterrent to women considering an orthopedic surgery residency.

"Roughly half of medical students are now women," said Dr. Sutton, a sports medicine surgeon at HSS. "In contrast, orthopedic surgery residency programs have lagged behind other subspecialties in recruiting women. Only 14 percent of orthopedic residents and 6 percent of active AAOS (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery) fellows are female. It’s important to address the factors that can be modified to reduce gender disparity within the field."

The article discusses several concerns of female orthopedic surgeons with respect to child-bearing, including the timing of pregnancy and potential occupational hazards. The authors also recommend precautions that can be taken.

"We believe that with appropriate planning, rates of pregnancy-related complications can be reduced," said Dr. Sutton. "The use of personal protective equipment, lead aprons, and dosimeters that measure radiation may decrease rates of occupational exposures. Planning with regard to rotation and call distribution may reduce rates of preterm labor and preeclampsia."

Dr. Sutton urges more research and leadership interest to address concerns and attract top talent to the field of orthopedics. The article can be viewed on the AAOS website: https://www.aaos.org/AAOSNow/2018/Feb/Managing/managing01/