Retirement age and practice patterns before retirement are important for making accurate workforce predictions for orthopaedic surgeons. A survey of orthopaedic surgeons 50 years of age and older therefore was conducted by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in cooperation with the Association of American Medical Colleges Center for Workforce Studies. The survey focused on three questions: (1) At what age do orthopaedic surgeons retire? (2) Do they stop working abruptly or do they work part time before retirement? (3) What are the major factors that determine when an orthopaedic surgeon retires? According to the survey, the median retirement age for orthopaedic surgeons was 65 years. Nineteen percent of orthopaedic surgeons worked part time before retirement. Decreasing reimbursement and increasing malpractice costs were consistently cited as factors that strongly influenced retirement plans. Career satisfaction was high and was the strongest factor that kept the respondents in the workforce. The option to work part time would have the most impact on keeping orthopaedic surgeons working past the age of 65 years.
Level of evidence: Level IV Economic and Decision Analyses. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.