Background: Pediatric sports medicine is a new and rapidly growing subspecialty within orthopaedic surgery. However, there is very limited literature on the practice of pediatric sports medicine in North America. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate and describe the current practice patterns of orthopaedic surgeons specializing in pediatric sports medicine.
Methods: An online survey was distributed to orthopaedic surgeons specializing in pediatric sports medicine through the Pediatric Research in Sports Medicine Society. The purpose of the survey was to characterize (1) surgeon demographics, (2) the breakdown of different joint specialization, and (3) the specific procedures for joints that the surgeons specialize in.
Results: Responses from 55 orthopaedic surgeons were collected and analyzed. Most respondents considered pediatric sports medicine as the primary focus of their practice (89.1%, n=49/55). The number of fellowships completed was almost evenly split between either a single fellowship (52.7%, n=29/55) or 2 or more (47.3%, n=26/55). The most common combination of fellowships was pediatric orthopaedics and adult sports medicine (32.7%, n=18/55). Most survey respondents had been in practice for <10 years (69.0%, n=38/55) and were affiliated with an academic center (61.8%, n=34/55). On average, 77.5% of the patients treated were <18 years old. The knee joint was the most specialized joint, with 98.2% (n=54/55) respondents reporting that the knee joint constituted ≥25% of their practice. The knee joint constituted a mean of 52.1% of the respondents’ overall practice, followed by the shoulder (15.2%), hip (13.9%), ankle (7.5%), elbow (7.1%), and wrist (4.2%).
Conclusions: Pediatric sports medicine practices are variable and have distinct practice patterns in pediatric, orthopaedic, and adult sports practices. In the current study, most surgeons are less than 10 years into practice, affiliated with academic centers, and have typically completed either 1 or 2 fellowships after residency. Surgeons were most commonly specialized in the knee joint and cared for patients <18 years old.
Area of research:
Scientist, CHEO Research Institute