The Evolving Role of the Orthopaedic Surgeon in Combat Zones and Austere Deployed Locations Since the 2012 Troop Drawdown


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the operative experience of orthopaedic surgeons in the various deployment locations since 2012. We also evaluated the implications of humanitarian surgical care and the impact of deployment on an orthopaedic practice. An emailed survey was sent to orthopaedic surgeons deployed after 2012. The survey was 48 questions. Most cases in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria were emergent traumas. In other locations, however, most cases were elective/non-emergent cases. Of surgeons surveyed, 44% performed less than 10 cases during their deployment, and 50% considered humanitarian surgery part of their mission. Six weeks was needed to prepare for deployment, and 4.4 weeks to re-build a practice. Disparity exists in surgical case volume and types of cases performed by orthopaedic surgeons that is dependent on deployed location. This dichotomy in operative experience places surgeons deployed to such locations at risk of losing surgical skills. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 29(3):182–186, 2020) Key words: deployment, military medicine, humanitarian surgical care (HSC)

SKU: JSOA-2020-29-3-F014 Categories: , Tags: , ,

Mark Slabaugh, MD; Daniel Kopolovich, MD; Richard J. Robbins, MD; and Francois Trappey, MD