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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2010 Nov;468(11):2840-53. doi: 10.1007/s11999-010-1413-6.

The current practice of orthopaedic oncology in North America.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 825 NE 10th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73126, USA.



The field of orthopaedic oncology in North America has been formalized over the past 30 years with the development of the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society (MSTS) and fellowship education opportunities.


To characterize current practices we assessed the fellowship education, practice setting, constitution of clinical practice, bone and soft tissue sarcoma treatment volume, perceived challenges and rewards of the career, and the nonclinical activities of orthopaedic oncologists.


Members of the MSTS and attendees of the 2009 AAOS-MSTS Specialty Day meeting were invited to participate in a twenty-three question online survey. One hundred and four surgeons including 99 of the 192 (52%) MSTS members completed the online survey.


Sixty-nine of the 104 (66%) responding surgeons completed a 1-year musculoskeletal oncology fellowship. Thirty-eight (37%) completed an additional orthopaedic subspecialty fellowship. Seventy-four (79%) work in an academic practice and 70 (+/- 16) % of clinical time is spent practicing musculoskeletal oncology. An average of 20 (+/- 16) bone and 40 (+/- 36) soft tissue sarcomas were treated annually. Insufficient institutional support, reimbursement, and emotional stresses were perceived as the most important challenges in a musculoskeletal oncology practice. Sixty-seven (64%) of the surgeons reported serving in a leadership position at the departmental or national level.


Professional time distribution is similar to other academic orthopaedists. The members of the MSTS are responsible for the treatment of more than two-thirds of bone and soft tissue sarcomas in the United States.


This information can assist the fellowship directors and related professional societies in tailoring their educational programs and the interested orthopaedic resident to make a more informed career choice.

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