August 1999 Bulletin

Orthopaedists favor treatment of osteoporosis

More than three-quarters of orthopaedic surgeons reported in a survey that they would like to expand their practice in nonsurgical treatments such as treating osteoporosis. The survey in the March 1998 Councilors' Report, mailed by the Board of Councilors to all members of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, found 78.3 percent of the 1,526 respondents believe expanding orthopaedic practice in nonsurgical treatments such as treating osteoporosis was appropriate.

Of those who indicated that their level of involvement in diagnosing and treating patients with osteoporosis as "very extensive" or "extensive," a large majority (98.4 percent and 77.9 percent, respectively) strongly agreed that expansion of practice is appropriate. Of those with "moderate" to "minimal" involvement, about 45 percent agreed with the statement (45 percent and 45.3 percent, respectively.)

More than 43 percent had only minimal involvement in osteoporosis and 39 percent had moderate involvement.

Almost 60 percent of the respondents said they personally would like to treat osteoporosis.

Asked what role the orthopaedic surgeon should have in treating osteoporosis, 34.5 percent said referral to family physicians or other providers; 30 percent, counseling only; 17.3 percent, prescribing hormonal medications; and 57.9 percent prescribing other medications.

Thirty-four percent of the respondents said their level of comfort in treating osteoporosis was high; 29.2 percent, uncertain; and 23.8 percent low.

The majority of respondents (54.8 percent) are uncertain that assuming a more active role in managing osteoporosis will affect their relationship with referring physicians. However, nearly one-third (31.7 percent) believe that their relationship would have a positive affect.

A comprehensive review of bone density testing devices is in Osteoporosis: bone density tests.

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