An aging population means an increase in orthopedic patients, with data suggesting that there will be a record 6.6 million orthopedic surgeries occurring annually by 2020. Today, orthopedic issues are the most common reason people seek medical care, with one in seven Americans reporting an orthopedic impairment. Here’s a closer look at the complex and innovative practice of orthopedic surgery—and how a lack of time is affecting the surgeons themselves.
Common Orthopedic Procedures
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), full-time practicing orthopedic surgeons perform an average of 32 orthopedic procedures each month—the equivalent of more than one surgery per day (and this assumes surgeons are on seven days per week). According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the most common orthopedic surgical procedures are as follows:
Arthroscopy to treat problems inside a joint
Soft tissue repair for torn ligaments and tendons
Joint replacement with a prosthesis
Revision joint surgery to change out an implant
Bone fracture repair using metal plates, screws or pins
Debridement to remove damaged soft tissue or bones
Fusion of bones using graft or joining bones, such as vertebrae, together
Osteotomy to correct bone deformities
When grouped by areas of the body, the most common procedures revolve around the ankle, knee, hip, wrist, shoulder, spine, and other bones.
The Orthopedic Surgeon Time Crunch
Orthopedic surgeons report spending an average of 86% percent of their time in clinical practice, which includes office, surgical, and patient rounds. The remainder of their time is spent performing administrative tasks (7%), teaching (4%), research (2%), and other related activities (2%). Then, there are those orthopedic surgeons who simply can’t find time for these activities; over 15% of those surveyed report spending 100% of their time in clinical practice.
Are Orthopedic Surgeons Feeling Burnt Out?
In a survey of over 150 orthopedic surgeons, the “desire for personal development including interesting challenges and new opportunities” took priority over financial gain. So, it’s no surprise that most surgeons give their all to the profession and their patients, sometimes to the detriment to their own health. With the number of surgeries increasing each year and the demand for orthopedic surgeons’ time growing, it’s no surprise that some report feeling burned out. A study by Orthopedic Today reveals that 58% of orthopedic residents and 28% of orthopedic faculty show elevated levels of exhaustion.
Unfortunately, these levels of burnout correlate with personal and professional setbacks. Burned-out surgeons are more likely to experience physical and emotional illness, including increased risk of cardiovascular disease, male infertility, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and elevated rates of substance abuse. Professionally, these levels have also been shown to affect performance, decreasing the quality of medical care and increasing the risk of surgical error.
Post-Operative Problems Resulting in Medical Negligence
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, some of the complaints patients have following an orthopedic surgeon include reopening of the surgical site, procedure-related perforations and lacerations, and wound infection. This has even led to a new arm of medical negligence, “stitching claims.” Mistreatment.com describes these claims as “Failure to effectively stitch or seal a surgical wound.” The site states that these errors may lead to serious complications such as infection, unnecessary pain and discomfort, secondary surgery to correct the stitching, and scarring.
So wouldn’t it be great if there was an easy way to reduce negligence claims associated with stitching, while adding valuable time back into surgeons’ days?
Introducing BandGrip Advanced Surgical Wound Closure
Designed for speed and ease of use, BandGrip is a 3.5”x1.5” bandage that offers a non-invasive method of wound closure without the use of needles or staples. Simple and intuitive, the bandage can be applied by a wide range of healthcare professionals without the involvement of the orthopedic surgeon. BandGrip uses non-invasive micro-anchors that grip the skin gently and securely to pull wound edges together, and reduce wound closure time by more than 30%. In addition, scarring is less pronounced, leaving patients more satisfied with the results of their procedure.