Early Practice Patterns of Hand Surgeons: An American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery Database Study

Tobias R. Mann, Michelle A. James, John Harrast, F. Thomas D. Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: To investigate the variety of cases that are performed by newly graduated fellowship-trained orthopedic hand surgeons. Methods: All cases submitted by board-eligible orthopedic surgeons taking part II of their board examination between 2004 and 2013 were obtained from the database of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS). Each case was then categorized based on the fellowship training of the treating surgeon and whether it was a hand surgery case. Each hand surgery case was then further categorized into 1 of the 8 surgical categories used by the ABOS to determine eligibility for the Subspecialty Certificate in Orthopaedic Surgery of the Hand (SCOSH). Results: During our study period, 6,854 orthopedic surgeons submitted 858,146 cases to the ABOS. Fellowship-trained hand surgeons made up 13% of all surgeons, and 24% of all submitted cases were hand surgery cases. Based on the cases submitted, 44% of hand surgeons were not on track to become eligible for the SCOSH. The most common reason for not reaching eligibility was failure to meet the minimum requirements in 1 of either the congenital, the skin and wound problems, the contracture and joint stiffness, the microvascular, or the tumor categories. Conclusions: A large proportion of fellowship-trained orthopedic hand surgeons are not on track to meet the minimum eligibility requirements for the ABOS SCOSH during their part II case collections. Their case profile is not sufficiently diverse to be considered an active hand surgery practice for the purpose of SCOSH eligibility. Clinical relevance: This study highlights 1 possible reason why over one-third of young hand surgeons do not obtain their subspecialty certification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • Board certification
  • specialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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