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Variability in Exposure to Subspecialty Rotations During Orthopaedic Residency: A Website-based Review of Orthopaedic Residency Programs



The variability in exposure to various subspecialty rotations during orthopaedic residency across the United States has not been well studied.


Data regarding program size, resident's sex, department leadership, university-based status of the program, outsourcing of subspecialty rotation, and geographic location were collected from websites of 151 US allopathic orthopaedic residency programs. The relationship of these factors with the time allotted for various clinical rotations was analyzed.


The number of residents in a program correlated positively with time allocated for elective rotations (r = 0.57, P = 0.0003). Residents in programs where the program director was a general orthopaedic surgeon spent more time on general orthopaedic rotations (22 versus 9.9 months, P = 0.001). Programs where the program director or chairman was an orthopaedic oncologist spent more time on oncology rotations ([3.8 versus 3 months, P = 0.01] and [3.5 versus 2.7 months, P = 0.01], respectively). Residents in community programs spent more time on adult reconstruction than university-based programs (6.6 versus 5.5 months, P = 0.014). Based on multiple linear regression analysis, time allotted for adult reconstruction (t = 2.29, P = 0.02) and elective rotations (t = 2.43, P = 0.017) was positively associated with the number of residents in the program.


Substantial variability exists in the time allocated to various clinical rotations during orthopaedic residency. The effect of this variability on clinical competence, trainees' career choices, and quality of patient care needs further study.

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