Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Overview

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Anesthesiology, the branch of Medicine thaOrthopaedic Surgery frequently ranks as the most competitive of all Residencies in the US. It’s a highly paid and varied specialty with some of the highest salaries in Medicine. Understanding the requirements of the Residency and the statistics of the Match for it are therefore vital. specialises in the management of patients who are either made unconscious or desensitised to pain during medical procedures, is one of the better paying medical specialties in the US. The median clinical salary was $426,000 in the most recent available data. As well as core work in the management of patients during operations and procedures, anaesthesiologists are experts in the management of critically ill patients, and some will combine work in the ORs with further work in ICUs.

Residency Core Requirements

Orthopaedic surgery requires 5 years of Residency. In addition to this, many will undertake further subspecialty training. This is available following the completion of the Residency, and covers adult reconstructive orthopedics, foot and ankle orthopedics, hand surgery, musculoskeletal oncology, orthopedic sports medicine, orthopedic surgery of the spine, orthopedic trauma, and pediatric orthopedics.

In terms of the specifics required for a resident during their training, the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery stipulates that all residents must complete the following: – 12 months of orthopaedic trauma training
– 12 months of adult orthopaedics training
– 6 months of basic science and/or clinical specialties
-6 months of pediatric orthopaedics

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Application Statistics & Competition

As mentioned, orthopaedics is highly competitive every year. In the most recent available data, there were a total of 1435 applicants and 875 spots, which works out as 1.64 applicants per position. Therefore, of 1068 US MD seniors who applied, 365 did not match to any program. Looking at previous years, the story isn’t much different, with 1058 applicants for 717 spots the year before. In terms of spots per program, there were an average of 4.4 spots per program (there are around 160 programs available). US Seniors make up the vast majority of those who will match onto an orthopaedic residency – US Seniors means current students at US MD programs. In other words, neither DO students nor international medical graduates will fare well in the Orthopaedic Match.

Orthopaedic surgery also ranks at the very top in terms of average applications per applicant, with 90 in the latest available data. This competitiveness is borne out in literature and journals, with one stating that, ‘in 2022, approximately 40% of applicants for orthopaedic surgery residency positions did not successfully match, despite their immense talent and commitment. This is a failure of the system, not the medical student applicants, and there is no evident solution.’ The same journal goes on to outline that the situation will become worse in following years, with many of those who failed to match expected to apply again, compounding the issue.

Sample Interview questions

What other specialties would you have been interested in?

My primary focus is orthopaedic surgery. However, I have previously found trauma surgery to be interesting; I’d still be eager to work within a surgical discipline as I find surgery requires a great knowledge of anatomy and the function of the body that is perhaps lacking in certain other disciplines. A trauma surgeon must still understand how a patient’s medications will work, but in addition they need to understand how to carry out an operation, how to work with anaesthetists, how to stabilise a critical patient, etc. The immense pressure that a trauma surgeon works on also, perhaps oddly, attracts me to the role – I work well under pressure, and it motivates me and drives me. Of course, trauma surgery isn’t glamorous, and surgeons aren’t superheroes – but it is perhaps as close as a physician or surgeon can come to being on the frontlines of the profession, dealing with sudden, unpredictable cases, and critically ill patients. I would therefore welcome a career in this difficult field.

What are the typical first symptoms of compartment syndrome? What might you find on examination?

I would expect to see paraesthesia and paresis, and a disproportionate level of pain increasing with time. With time one might also see pallor in the affected limb, a complete loss of sensation, and muscle contracture. I would like to ask the patient about the timing of the injury, the extent of their pain, and what analgesia has been given. On examination I would expect to find disproportionate pain, notably on passive dorsiflexion, and upon palpation the limb might be tense or difficult to mobilise.

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Important considerations

Clearly, the single most important consideration to make with regards to Orthopaedic Surgery as a Residency choice is its competitiveness. You must be prepared not only to submit many applications, have an exceptional track record, but equally be aware that some top level students will not successfully match on their first attempt.

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